3 comments Wednesday, July 29, 2009

This was game night Wednesday. The last week of the month we play games all night. Usually the games are messy and even a little mean. I enjoy it and the students tend to have a great time. I decided to play outside the box tonight. Everything was pretty well mental but not a straight up trivia test or anything boring like that. I started with 9 volunteers then thinned the heard over a couple of games and finished with a classic outside the box exercise.

Call a friend

The first game required volunteers with cell phones. This was most of the Youth but I got 9 up front and then asked for their phones. I then sent them down stairs where they couldn't hear and had some other volunteers put the phones in identical brown paper bags. I think mixed it up so no one knew where anyone's phone was. I then had my volunteers come up one at a time. They were put in a chair in front of the bags and told that their phone was in a big. To win all they had to do was pick the bag their phone was in. They could not touch the bags but they were permitted a single question which I promised to answer to the best of my abilities. Most of them asked "what bag is my phone in?" Unfortunately for them I honestly did not know so I gave them the best answer I could, "I don't know." They then randomly picked from 9 phones and each missed. 3 of them asked, "Can you call m phone?" or some variant of that. I called and they were able to figure out which phone was theirs when it started ringing. I'm not sure if there were any other questions they could have asked that would have given the correct location of the phone but that was the one I had in mind when I envisioned the game. Those 3 went on to play the next game.

It's not lying when you play by the rules

This is a game I played back in high school in my sociology class, or something like that. Back then I remember it being really funny because of what happened when one guy was asking his girlfriend questions and getting all kinds of disturbing answers. The three winners were sent back down stairs. I then instructed the rest that the winners would be coming up to figure out the "rule." They could only answer "yes" or "no." If the person blinked while asking the question they had to answer yes regardless of what the correct answer was. If they didn't blink the answer had to be no. Very simple rule but very easy to overlook. Anyways, the 3 went on for several minutes while everyone had fun at their expense before someone finally figured out the rule. This person went on to the final round.

Connect the Dots

A classic thinking outside the box exercise. If you haven't done it then you need to. Take a piece of paper and put 3 dots in a row then put another row put 3 more dots and in a 3rd row put 3 more dots. You should have a square with 3 dots on each side and one dot in the middle. The task is to draw a line through all of the dots. Easy enough but you can only draw 4 lines and you can't lift your pen from the paper.

Did you try it? Let me give you some advice. Think outside the box.

Did you get it? Let me try and describe the solution. Draw a line from the bottom right dot to the top left dot. This will go through 3 dots including the middle one. Now draw through the top right about half the width of the whole box past the dot. You are now outside the box. From there draw through the middle right and middle bottom dots going past the bottom dot until you are under the left column. Draw up through the remaining dots and you are done.

My winner from the previous games did not do well with this at all. He didn't even get close.

Anyways, that was the games for the night. I thought it was a nice change and everyone seemed to enjoy it. We'll be having a messier version next time.


I got this from one of my students. It is a really neat idea and I thought I'd put it up on my blog. (My comments are in parenthesis like this)

ok this is something my professor did today and it really made me think.. lets say that there are 16 main values a person can have.. they are: freedom, fun, faith, positive attitude, leadership, knowledge, integrity, respect, accomplishment, family, money, friendship, service, empathy, influence, and love..

which one value would you give up to keep the other 15? pretty easy stuff....

(ok so try it out. Of those 16 values which do you think it least important. Write it down and mark one off)

which 5 values would you give up to keep the other 10?...

(now mark 5 more values off. Play along don't just skip to the end)

next what 4 values would you give up to keep the other 6?...now its getting quite hard to decide..it almost hurts to get rid of a few because they are so close...

(are you doing this? did you get town to less than half the original values?)

but its not over yet..what 3 of the 6 remaining values would you give up to keep the other 3?....wow at that point it was so hard to decide.....

(How long did it take to do this? Did you do it?)

and finally which 1 of the three remaining values would you give up to keep the final 2?....once you figured out what 2 you have left, these are your core values in life.....

(so that's what the prof had them do and my student went on to talk about her's but I'm not posting it. Instead I'm gonna show you what I did so the rest of this is me)

freedom, fun, faith, positive attitude, leadership, knowledge, integrity, respect, accomplishment, family, money, friendship, service, empathy, influence, and love

That's easy I get rid of money

freedom, fun, faith, positive attitude, leadership, knowledge, integrity, respect, accomplishment, family, friendship, service, empathy, influence, and love

Influence is easy to say I don't need, but the rest are important to me. Still I'd give up freedom to keep faith and leadership to keep service. I'll pass on fun so I can keep integrity and I guess accomplishment even though that is really important to who I am but not as important as the rest.

faith, positive attitude, knowledge, integrity, respect, family, friendship, service, empathy, and love

Now I have to get rid of 4 of these? Honestly what is left is who I am, or try to be, but I guess I could sacrifice a positive attitude, knowledge, respect, and friendship. I have done that in the past and lived.

faith, integrity, family, service, empathy, and love

Now to cut this in half. I don't know how to eliminate any of these things, but I do know that in my life when I'm pushed to it empathy falls away next then maybe service. I don't know how to press out one more value. I guess if push came to shove I would break the law to keep my faith, family, and love so in some ways that is saying I would give up integrity, but if I came to that point I would think that it is because my integrity was more important than the law. Still I guess I'll oust it in a technicality.

faith, family, and love

What is left is pretty much an impossible choice because they are very much intertwined, still when I think back I know that I have sacrificed family for faith and love. I left my parents to pursue God's call on my life and again to pursue my wife. Sure that was one family for another but ... yeah you get the point right?

faith, and love

According to this little experiment the core value to my life are "faith and love." I would prefer to keep family in the mix though because I make a point of keeping them before the church, still God is first so ...

What did you find? Did you learn something? Does that seem right?

14 comments Saturday, July 25, 2009

Two post Saturday. Yes for all the times I miss you get a bonus post today. I really need help here so please comment with your thoughts though.

I work with a ministry that I really love outside of my church. The ministry is "UNITE" and is about bringing youth ministries together because we can do more together than we can apart. It really is more than what we can do though. We have done several events since we formed last year and things are moving much faster than we ever dreamed it could, but the real heart of this is that we are one body.

I feel that we often miss it when we read "The eye cannot say to the hand I don't need you ..." and only apply that to individual members in the body. To often churches have said "I can do this on my own and don't need other churches in my community." This attitude doesn't work on the mission field, and it is becoming increasingly apparent that it doesn't work in America.

That is the background of UNITE. We are working with a somewhat like minded men's ministry right now and are trying to find or start a similar women's ministry because we feel that community extends beyond the youth, or at least should.

One of the things we have been desiring from the beginning (way back a year ago) is a "Family Life Center."

The best way I can describe this is a "faith based community center." The idea is that this building would be available for the community but also be there for churches desiring to work together but who might be worried about "turf issues." It is also a great place for doing certain outreaches that might not be accepted in a church, since we are a semi-rural and very conservative community, and also provide a place that is not church so there is one less reason for people to not attend.

The idea is family, community, and church happening in this one place. Something that use to be more common but has been lost for various reasons.

OK so that is the background on the "family life center." Now why am I posting? well if you read the title you are way ahead of me.

We need a name. One of the original proponents was sold on the name "Family Life Center." I'm against it for a few reasons. I don't like that long of a name. I don't like the word "center" because of the ideas that are conveyed with it to me. I love "family" and "life" personally but I'm very concerned about the people that we are saying we want to be available to having a problem with that. A lot of my youth have a very distorted view of family because their families are so broken. I get the idea behind this is that so many families are broken so we need a place that will help bring life back to families. I think it is a great idea, but I think that those families will avoid a place with the name "family life" like the plague.

What do you all think? Am I over thinking the name? What names should we be considering?


I should be putting up one of my fiction posts but I really want to get through the vacation, talk about King's Fest, and get back on my regular schedual. The last time I walked about my vacation I was in Northern CA and my wife was in Southern CA. Of course it wouldn't be a vacation if I didn't get back to my wife so late Tuesday morning my FIL finished the project he had to work on for his non-ministry job and we headed to Southern CA. With stops it was over a 12 hour trip. We left about 11am and arrived to our location at 1am the next day. I drove most of the trip because my FIL has a bad habit of getting very drowsy behind the wheel but not saying anything. When he starts looking tired and drifting I ask if he is ok, but he always says he is fine. Makes me very nervous so I'd rather just drive.

After arriving at 1am we had to wake up at 6am to head in for the first day of Disney Land. It was a bit overcast but that was actually kinda nice. At some point I sent a tweet via my phone stating MILs shouldn't be at Disney with you. At another point I sent a tweet out asking why emos would be at Disney Land since it must be against their code or something. I didn't see many but there were a few.

We had a great first day. Unlike many theme parks, my kids could ride most of the rides. There were a couple they couldn't, like the Indiana Jones ride, but over all we could take them on far more rides than they weren't allowed to go on. My oldest son enjoyed most of them, but my youngest daughter was scared of a lot of them. We tried to decide if she would like the ride before we took her on, but she didn't want to be left out and pitched a fit anytime we didn't take her. If it was marginal we would give in to the fit and inevitably she would be scared and scream.

Honestly I'm not sure if she insisted on going on the rides because she didn't want to miss out or if maybe she likes being scared. The way she screamed I would think it wasn't something she enjoyed, but she kept going back for more. At one point she went on the Pirates of the Caribbean ride and was terrified. I thought this one would be ok but she hates getting splashed with water. There are a couple of small drops and she got a tiny bit wet. Later there is a wall of fog that the project a waterfall onto so as we went under she started screaming, "no, no no, not again." I tried to get her to touch it just before we went under but she wouldn't. She did pretty good through much of the ride.

My oldest daughter wanted to ride everything. I mean everything. Even the rides she wasn't quite big enough to ride she begged to ride. Her favorite ride that she asked to ride over and over was the Tower of Terror. This is an elevator ride themed after the Twilight zone. It is all very creepy on the wait and when u get on the ride you sit in a seat with just a lap belt. Then the elevator goes up in the dark and you watch a couple of segments. One is a "mirror" that shows everyone on the ride then it gets weird and distorted. The next shows people getting into the elevator and disappearing into lightening. Then you rise to the top and the elevator doors open overlooking the park. After a short wait you drop then rise and drop and bounce up and down then go all the way up and back down. My 5 year old daughter couldn't get enough of this ride. My oldest son didn't care for it and my wife didn't either, so I had to take my daughter on the ride a couple of times.

Next I'll share about meeting characters on our last day at Disney.

9 comments Friday, July 24, 2009

Yeah, so twitter updates in general are kinda lazy at face value but you really have to do a lot to find all the tweets for the week. You either have to be dedicated to keep a running file of the tweets you intend to use or browse through hundreds of tweets. If you want to be nice and provide the tweets you are replying to then you have to search the comments others have made and it just gets really confusing and hard.

I have no intention of doing this so instead I am posting my lazy twitter update and will give a bit of information about the details of the two major threads included on this night. First @katdish commented that she was writing a blog post for tom. Of course this means tomorrow but I felt like having fun and started harassing @katdish. In the end I got a few others to join in on the fun so I consider it quite successful. The second is when @CandySteele said something about beating a dead horse, but forgot the "s." Once again I could have let it slide but it would go against my nature and now we have my responses to these two threads via tweet.

alright night twitter. No beating dead hores while I'm gone. and find out from @katdish who Tom is.

@weightwhat @CandySteele just gave u 2 blames to me 1. See, 2-1    

@Helenatrandom just give @katdish a hard time about not telling us who Tom is and ignoring me when I asked    

RT @katdish: I am writing a post for tom. that combines Stephen King, scrapbooking, and ADD. Yes, I know - riveting.    

http://is.gd/1FS4L their website. Study and learn    

@CandySteele u've never seen Mythbusters???? What is wrong with you?    

@CandySteele we r about 3 hours from the beach but I'm not sure how available they r there.    

@weightwhat see you were worse, @Helenatrandom agrees with me.    

@CandySteele I want to work for Mythbusters    

@CandySteele I was just telling my wife they look really good.    

@weightwhat It does seem like @katdish is making quite the Riddle of Tom    

@katdish Is Tom he who must not be named?    

@katdish while AB is on a commercial break do you wanna say anything about this Tom Fella? Does he have a brook?    

They are going to scallops in the OKRA ... tee hee    

@CandySteele I guess we r watching the same show. No dead hores    

Alton Brown is doing a Jaws scene with scallops. Very funny.    

@weightwhat nope every time I'm done you jump back in with a scathing remark and get this going again. Like beating a dead hore    

@CandySteele but @weightwhat is being much meaner.    

@CandySteele we aren't interested in beating you up, just a few dead hores. Y should we miss out on the fun?    

@weightwhat yeah we should give @CandySteele a break .. it was just her b-day and she is getting cantankerous in her ...

@weightwhat high 5, ur on fire 2night    

@CandySteele also way to try and change the subject.    

@CandySteele Well I call my Magellan Maggie so I thought @katdish might call her Tom Tom Tom ... what?    

@katdish is Tom a GPS? I call mine Maggie. Why does urs have a blog?    

@katdish what does Tom think of all of this hore business?    

@CandySteele Wow they are right when they say these kind of things escalate, a little hospital exhibitionism and now a mess of dead hores.    

@CandySteele so it was 4 dead hores? Is that what the DM meant?    

@weightwhat OMGoogle that was the funniest thing. @CandySteele I think you are making everyone twitter update again    

@CandySteele oh I thought the w wasn't working    

@CandySteele how dead does the whore have to be b4 she stops moaning and how do you know this?    

@katdish should your hubby be worried about Tom? Is that why you won't say?    

@katdish do you have to write for Tom because he can't remember more than 10 seconds. Is that why it's about ADD and scrapbooking?    

@CandySteele but if you hit a dead horse right it probably still moans    

@weightwhat yes and you should help us get @katdish to dish    

@CandySteele eh, better than moaning.    

@katdish I hope it isn't Tom Cruise    

@katdish is Tom known for his foolery?    

@katdish does Tom have a cabin and a niece or nephew?    

@CandySteele maybe ignoring me is about annoying me, but who is Tom?    

@CandySteele @katdish won't say who Tom is and s now ignoring me

@katdish does Tom have a twitter account and should we follow him?    

@katdish is Tom big into scrapbooking?    

@katdish does Tom have ADD?    

@katdish I still want to know who Tom is? Why ru writing a blog post for him? Is he a big Stephen King fan?    

@redclaydiaries let's and don't for get blogs and DMs    

@redclaydiaries I think it would be the only correct path.    

@redclaydiaries I asked @katdish but she won't tell me. Says I'm annoying or something.    

@redclaydiaries @katdish is ignoring me    

@redclaydiaries *insert weird platypus sound here*    

my daughter has been spinning in circles for like 5 minutes now. Maybe that is her mutant power, anti dizziness    

@katdish the fastest way to get 1000 followers is to personally annoy them all, or at least one special follower    

@katdish I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you, I'm not touching you. Also, who is Tom?    

@katdish now that's not very nice, and I still don't know who Tom is?    

@katdish u said u were writing a post for Tom    

@katdish but who is Tom?

7 comments Wednesday, July 22, 2009

It's about time I get back on track with this vacation stuff. Last time I was knee deep in mullets (that just sounds dirty). After we left Eureka we drove to the middle of no where located roughly the mid 90s. The next day I preached for Father's day and everyone said I did a great job. After that we were in a parade and then my wife, daughters, and youngest son went to Southern CA.

The next day I had my first real day off in ages. Normally I have something going on even on my day off. I was able to read 2 whole books from my "must read pile" that is getting bigger faster than I can read them. Soon the list will resemble a book in length.

I got to spend time with my son while my FIL was at work and made grilled venison steaks for dinner. I think that was the best and healthiest meal we ate while on this vacation.

I also got to talk with my FIL after dinner. He is a pastor and the previous church was pretty bad. They really drove him into the ground and even though his current church is great to them he feels like he will be leaving the ministry for good soon. I feel like he is right because he doesn't have a pastor's heart anymore.

I'm not sure how long it takes before a pastor loses his heart. I'm not sure if every pastor loses his heart. I do know that too many have but don't even know it. I think the first sign is the way they "help" other ministers. Job had it rough, but I think the most unbearable part was the "support" he got from his friends. "Go curse God and die." Yeah that's some good advice there.

The problem is, I feel like the advice I get from most pastors is pretty much the same. I talked to my FIL about the things I am dealing with in the church. The frustration and heartache. I thought he would get it because of what he went through. He did get it of course, but instead of just listening and sharing my burden he said, "welcome to the ministry."

The odd part is that lots of pastors and former pastors have conveyed similar condolences to me. Even before I got into ministry they would say things like, "the first time you wake up on Monday morning feeling like you are a complete failure and should quite then you will know you are a pastor."

Sure that might be part of the experience, but does the cynical response have to be part of the experience? Aren't we called to something more? Didn't Jesus say they would know we are His because of our love for each other? I'm pretty sure that the callousness is not exhibiting love.

Right now I pray that no matter how hurt I get, that I will still see the hurt in others and be drawn to love them.

Ministers out there, have you experienced this "counsel" from other ministers? Have you given this "encouragement?" Everyone else, have you told your pastor how much you appreciate him/her? They need it you know.

2 comments Friday, July 17, 2009

So I got to go out with my wife and watch the latest Harry Potter movie. Years ago my wife and I watched the first film and then started reading the books. I have read all the books more than once and seen every movie. I probably know more about the series than all of my bloggity friends combined. Before we start any who knows more about you know who wars, let me just say that on my side I have an unreal memory for useless facts and there are an obscene number of useless facts in the series.

Anyways, on to my review.

The movie opened with a scene that is not found in the books. In fact it was pretty different from the books when you get right down to it. 3 death eaters blast into Diagon Alley and into Olivander's shop before flying into a footbridge causing it to collapse while full of people. These events are alluded to in the book, but it is stated that there was no sign of a struggle when Olivander disappeared leading many to guess that he went into hiding, was a DE, or was captured by the DEs. Of course, those that have read the last book know what happened to Olivander. Actually I think that this opening change was better for the movie and takes advantage of the fan knowledge that is already in place.

Think about it. In the book there is a somewhat whimsical scene where the Prime Minister is introduced to the new Minister of Magic. This wouldn't make a good scene for film, much less an opening scene for film. The alternative is to show us exactly what happens to Olivander, even if the event is somewhat blown out of proportion to the books. It was made bigger and more appropriate for film.

The reason I think this made for a good opening scene is that it basically showed me that the book was a loose guide for the film, much as the previous entries had been. The film makers kept to the basic plot and held to the biggest plot points while making their own film based on the book.

That said I do have a couple of big complaints. There is a scene right in the middle of the movie that was not in the books and resulted in something that will significantly alter certain scenes in the following movie. I am concerned for what the plans are, but I think this scene was put in because of something they want to do in the next movie.

My next big complaint is the end of the movie lacked the big fight scene. I can only assume that the film makers wanted to drop the fight within Hogwarts (yeah if you didn't know about it I'm not giving anything away since the fight doesn't happen and if you did know about it, well then I can't really spoil anything for you can I?) because it would feel too familiar when they spend so much time with fighting in Hogwarts during the final film. It doesn't matter though, I wanted to see that fight.

Now on to the things I liked the most. I loved the interaction between the characters as the whole relationship thing sorted itself out. I work with teens and it felt really … well … real. Emma Watson is becoming a great actress. She seemed to really like Rupert and he honestly seemed thick. The film almost spent too much time on the relationships. If they hadn't done such a good job I would have felt the neglected the major plot for the minor one, but in the end I felt that it was perfectly handled.

Finally tally, the book was better, but this movie was better than the previous movies except the first one in my opinion. I feel like the characters are becoming more real and that is great. I wish they had given more time to some of the minor characters like Neville and had not changed the actors for some of the others but overall I give it a big recommend.


OK, I'm going to be honest, I don't usually follow along with everyone else. I'm more of a dance to the tune of a different instrument, much less drummer, sorta person. Still, I'm feeling lazy and people need to know I'm not all depressed lately so I will give those who dare not get sucked into the whale that is twitter (there's a twitter joke there) for feel that it will_kill_you a glimpse into the beast from the safety of blogger.

Also, I have been using a lot of run ons lately to make up for the 140 character limit in twitter.

1) when someone who is basically bald on top has long hair is it still considered a mullet?
According to @weightwhat it is a skullet

2) @marni71 I assume he meant WTFrak right?
He did

3) Cinabon wished their cinnamon rolls tasted as good as CiCi's

4) I'm in the dollar store. I didn't know we were coming so I'm way over dressed

5) They have an Apples to Apples Bible edition but I'd feel wrong putting down highly inappropriate cards.
This was found at the Christian book store near the dollar store not in the dollar store.

6) ok now that's just funny right there http://twurl.nl/twdxqy THe Bible told via legos

7) I like my new spam follower "has joined a cult that worships that badger's recreational football" I'd join that cult just for the laughs

8) "called spam blogs, and can be recognized by their irrelevant, repetitive, or nonsensical text, along with a large number of links,"
By that definition @FOTTSP is a spam blog.

9) @Helenatrandom well I might have some cybernetic parts from a failed build project ...

10) @HerbieGookins how gross, now ur talking about genetics? Next thing you know a certain b-day girl will say something about moaning
The birthday girl is @CandySteele and the moaning is probably mentioned on a few other blogs.

11) I love the way Brad Pitt says Natzies in that new Quintin Terrantino WWII film. From now on that is how I'll be pronouncing it.

12) @katdish throw off the shackles of rl where you have to bathe and stuff. become one with the twitter

13) ok just order guitar hero world tour band kit. Step one to building guitar hero working band set complete

14) Hey guys you can't leave yet. @crowderband left a comment on my blog. Life goal achievement points here people.
Seriously. Also I may have mention this 2-12 times in addition to this.

15) @weightwhat I don't have a problem and I'm not addicted to twitter. I can quit anytime. I"m just going outside for some fresh air.

16) @katdish I admit it is the best shiny vampire love story I have never read

17) @Helenatrandom I am neither offensive nor in need of supervision ... just don't ask my MIL

18) at band practice I said "wicked" and the students were all "that's so cool, like uber" yeah I felt old.

19) I just killed a fly in mid air with my bare hands. Stupid flies.

20) Why do parents have to ever say hurtful things to their kids?

21) Newsboys is covering jesus freak

22) So @crowderband just said it gets hot in TX during the summer #understatementofthecentury

23) Someone tell me when the turned up shirt collor camp back cuz I just saw a guy STRUTTING the look

24) @ofmercy things r going great. Fun rollercoasters and concerts 4 the past 3 days

25) Slept like a dream last night. Sinus meds+ear plugs+no MIL dreams=happyNtG

26) Do u ever see a plane flying high in the night sky and wonder where its going and who is on it?

27) Switchfoot has a cricket backup section with confused firefly light effects. Kinda cool.

28) WWKD? Yell "shiny" during a concert so that's what I did

29) Ok this is weird I'm being recorded at the concert by the band to post for twitter which I'm tweeting

30) The lead singer for Fireflight has piebald hair
It makes it look freakin' cool when she head bangs.

Ok that has been the twitter week in review. Everything was said by me and I limited to just 30 unlike some of the other twitter hoes. I'm not naming names but most of @FOTTSP is on the list. Like what you see then follow please. Don't like it, then why are you reading this blog?

5 comments Thursday, July 16, 2009

Who goes to the circus anymore? I think I've been on one circus in my life. I'm not against the idea of a circus but I just don't go. If I ever had the money I'd love to catch Cirque du Soliel. That's some frigintastical stuff there. I've seen several shows of the acts and would love to see that in person, but honestly it will likely never happen. It's just not that big of a deal.

Of course, the big top has nothing to do with this post. This is the traditional Youth night follow-up.

Tonight was interesting. This was the first time I departed from my planed sermon. I was supposed to speak on being a servant as a follow-up to last week. I have it all planned out but I just couldn't shake the idea that has been burdening me these past weeks. Sometime before service I just knew I had to talk about that so I sorta just opened my heart to them.

I told my students how I've been feeling a heavy burden for them knowing that so many don't have parents that know how to be parents. I just talked about the stuff I posted yesterday and encouraged them to come to me or the other workers. I told them how I wanted to be with them all anytime they needed someone but I can't always be. Still I wanted them to come to me and I would do my best to make time, or they could go to the other leaders.

Anyways, everyone seemed to really appreciate what I said. I was given the opportunity to back up what I was saying right after service.

One of the girls feels lost in her family. Her parents are divorced and are both dating and giving less and less attention to her. She is allowed to do what she wants, stay out as late as she wants and when it comes down to it she wants to have rules. I let her talk for quite a while as we sat on the floor. It must have seemed weird to see with me sitting a few feet away not even looking at her much of the time she talked. I was paying absolute attention but I try to keep a level of distance between myself in the girls. I got my wife to come over and let her hug on the girl and put her arm around her as we prayed.

I'm also starting a new contest with my youth. I send out a text with a question. The first person to respond back gets a free lunch with my wife and me. We are taking one of the youth to CiCi's tomorrow.

Anyways, thanks to everyone for the prayers. I think this is why I needed them. There are so many in the Youth that are in this same place. I hope to spend more time with each of them.

8 comments Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Right now I am torn about what to write about. I have so much left to talk about my vacation and I also have a huge recap post for King's Fest but I have really been feeling a burden the past week or so and I need to talk about that.

This really isn't a new burden but lately it has really been pressing hard on me. I am up late into the night, awake in the middle of the night, up early in the morning, and consumed with it all day long lately. I am constantly reminded of this and brought to the verge of tears regularly.

The burden is my teens. I am always worried for them, for their poor decision making habits, for the seeming lack of interest in holiness, for all the things I cannot change, and for their relationships with parents.

I keep getting the same stories. So many live in houses that are not homes. They live with adults that are not parents.

The people that should be parents fail to see just how much it hurts when they worry too much about being a friend, or use hurtful things to make their "child" behave. I see my students hurting time and time again with the same thoughts. No one cares.

I go to them and let them know I care. I don't just offer them empty words but I dedicate my time to listen to them and pray with them. I try to never say "I'll pray about that," because I'll forget. I know myself well enough to know that. Instead I ask them if we can pray and then we do. Increasingly they see that I do genuinely care, but there is just not enough of me.

I cannot be what the parents need to be. I just don't have the time to be that for 50+ students. I honestly don't know what to do.

Our church is seriously struggling right now. The youth is growing is leaps and bounds but the rest of the church is atrophying. I have a few workers and they are doing an amazing job, but I need more. Right now the church is drowning financially because of some selfish individuals that caused a church split. They caused significant harm to the church and to my youth.

I am full of worry and anger and I see a need that is far to big for me.

Right now I need prayer. My church needs prayer. My students need prayer.

Please don't tell me you are going to pray, instead take a moment right now to pray. If you can remember, or if you have a prayer list then please use that as well.

20 comments Tuesday, July 14, 2009

  1. 1. He is a bigger geek than me
  2. Seriously guys, this guy is like the geek extreme. I have seen him in concert a few times, I have read one of his books and let me just say the guy make me look normal in his geekitude. I don't know if I could ever attain that level of geek. He is the 9th dan geek master and I am a lowly white belt. The guy won't use public bathrooms with electronic eyes because they cause him existential crisis. Now that is geek there.

  3. He has more energy than me
  4. I have a significant amount of energy. My youth regularly ask how much coffee or how many Monsters I have had. They think I must be bouncing off the walls hyper because of something I have ingested. The truth is it has been nearly 2 months since my last monster. I have more energy than pretty much the entire youth group. At King's Fest I was the last to go to bed and the first to wake up and I was pushing hard the entire time, but then I watch David Crowder on stage and can't help but think that the world is standing still while he bounces through it.

  5. He is beast on the guitar
  6. Have you heard him? I can't imagine there is a style of music he can't play. I love how each song he is bringing out a new guitar. One day I hope to be able to play about 1/10th as good.

  7. He has a Guitar Hero controller that plays music
  8. Did I mention he plays a different guitar with every song? Yeah one song got the Guitar Hero guitar. Now I know he didn't make it but he pays it and that if frigintastical in geekdom so far as I am concerned. On a side note I am now making plans on how to one up him. I think I can make something pretty easy using the wii version and connecting via blue tooth to the computer. Then I can not only get the sounds like his but I can use the accelerometer in the wii-mote for distortion effects.

  9. He plays a lime green keytar
  10. One of the other guitars was a keytar. Not just any keytar but a lime green one. It is amazing. I want it.

  11. He can rock the Super Mario Theme
  12. Yeah I am a child of the 80s and hearing the Super Mario Theme triggers a deep part of my brain that makes me desire to jump on people's heads. If I were David Crowder I would end up jump into the crowd after playing that. He apparently has more restraint than I.

  13. He is a bigger twitter ho than me
  14. I have only started following @crowderband. Sure there may not be as many updates but they did make a video called "Twitter will kill you" that is unreal. Seriously you won't believe how amazing it is until you see it.

  15. He has a wicked goatee
  16. I could grow a goatee like his, but it would take ages and I'm just not that dedicated.

  17. He has an ├╝ber cool fro.

Ok, I'll admit I have amazing hair but that fro is unreal. I could do mine up like that but it wouldn't be as awesome.

Now for one reason why David Crowder is less frigintastical than me.

  1. He is from Waco, TX

This isn't just Texas. That is bad enough. He is from Waco. That is the same place as David Koresh. David Crowder … David Koresh. I'm just saying they have the same first name and share the same city. Plus Texas heat must boil people's brains every summer. No wonder so many crazy people live there right @katdish?

3 comments Wednesday, July 8, 2009

OK so I'm skipping some vacation posts to give my Wednesday night follow-up. I really missed my students. I mean really missed them and it turns out they really missed me. They told me that and even told me that they were glad to have me back because it is more fun with me there.

I have to say that is the kind of thing that will make my head get really big. I know that sometimes they can drive me freakin nuts (oh how I long for grape fruit) they also make me unbelievably proud.

Anyways, there were plenty of new faces and lots of excited greetings but also a lot of important details to hash out. I gave them details on the vacation including a picture slide show and avoided any of the nastier details, because they don't need to hear that. I also had to give some info on the trip we are taking tomorrow and on some other upcoming events.

Speaking of that, tomorrow I am going to a 3 day music festival at an amusement park with 20+ people and meeting up with 3 or 4 other groups from our area. It is going to be a blast but I'll be away from my wife and kids till Sunday. Also I probably won't be keeping up with my blog till Monday, but that doesn't excuse people from commenting.

I'm a little scattered, which is weird since we were out of lo carb monster, so it has been like 4 weeks since my last one but I don't need caffeine to distract me.

Tonight I talked about being a servant. I'll be following that up over the next couple of weeks. Anyways, that is the details on what happened at Youth.

9 comments Tuesday, July 7, 2009

After the Giant Sequoias we drove to Eureka. I'll admit I didn't expect the SciFi (or should I say SyFy) show. I didn't expect what I found either. Eureka is a decent sized coastal town in Northern California. I expected it to be about the same as all the other decent sized coastal towns I had been to in CA. What I got was a town that was more hick than any I had been to in a long time.

We went to the mall, which was actually a pretty nice mall. That made the next part even more shocking. I walked into a mullet convention. Seriously I saw like 10 mullets. I haven't seen that many mullets in the past 2 or 3 years. It's like the government setup a refuge for mullets in the town of Eureka and then covered it up with a SyFy show depicting the most advanced town in America.

Anyways, this is where I spent my 10th anniversary with my wife. We watched a movie together while my in-laws played with our kids and then we got a table to ourselves at Applebees. We are trying to save money for a trip down to GA at the resort we stayed at for our honeymoon this fall. Here's hoping.

After dinner we drove to Orlean, CA which is located roughly in the 90s. More on that tomorrow.

8 comments Monday, July 6, 2009

Katdish seems to think I'm full of time and so she keeps recommending books on her blog that sound really good. The latest is The Jumbo Shrimp Gospel. The book sounds great and it lines up with the kind of paradox that I was thinking about while walking among the giants.

Our third day in California we awoke on the edge of Humboldt state park, which is a giant sequoia forest. These are "costal redwoods" that are known to be the tallest of the redwoods. Others are wider but not as tall. I had seen many pictures in the past but there is no way to grasp just how tall these trees are until you are there. The problem is that they are so big you cannot put them in perspective on film. Other trees just aren't tall enough to show off the towering nature of these giants.

Yet, walking among the tallest living things on this planet I am struck that they are not the giants they pretend to be. Many times in the Old Testament it refers to the great northern cedars. I imagine they much be something like these behemoth trees.

Psalms 29:5
The voice of the LORD breaks the cedars;
       the LORD breaks in pieces the cedars of Lebanon

Imagine that. As I stood among the tallest trees and saw the damage they had weathered I wondered at the voice that can break those trees into pieces is the same voice that spoke life into me and called me good. The same voice that called out to me in the dark places and speaks softly to me every day. The same voice that I ignore all to often.

Imagine that.

Like I said, you can't get the magnitude of these trees that are well over 200' above me.

Yeah so please remember I'm over 6' tall. That is as good as I can get for perspective. Not an easy tree to fell.

So I'm thinking that the classic car in the tree is as close as I can get to demonstrating just how big these trees really are.

6 comments Saturday, July 4, 2009

Like I said the past couple of days there are a lot of really great things about this vacation. I had to pull the bad out so the good would look even better by comparison. Today I'm going to talk about the plan trip, the boardwalk, and the redwoods.

The flight out was interesting to say the least. Tuesday I got a call that the flight was cancelled but that they had rescheduled us for a later flight that arrived earlier. We flew into LAX instead of DFW. This resulted in a shorter layover but a much longer first flight. The second leg was about an hour. The trip was pretty straight forward but since it was a first for all of our kids it was great. We take up 5 seats with the baby in our laps. We had to keep passing him around and he really enjoyed looking outside. My youngest girl is a huge chicken and we were worried she would get scared and scream bloody murder so during takeoff I told her to pat her lap then clap her hands then wave her hands in the air, shake her whole body, and yell "blast off." Anyone get that one? Anyways she was a bit whiney till she looked outside. She ended up taking the window seat and really calming down. We have 2 portable dvd players and the other two watched those while the youngest girl stared out the window till she fell to sleep.

Anyways, we finally arrived and drove down to San Jose where we stayed the night. My little girl that enjoyed the plane so much started puking in the car and at the hotel but I lucked out and she wasn't in the car I rode in or in the room when she puked. The next day she was better and we went to the board walk in Santa Cruz. Has anyone seen The Lost Boys? It's an 80s vampire movie. I really enjoyed the movie as a kid because I'm kinda weird like that. Anyways, places like the boardwalk remind me of that movie so the whole time I was wondering where the vampires were hidden. I never found them but my kids had a blast riding a few rides and playing in the sand. They wanted to play in the ocean but the water was frigid.

I looked it up and the boardwalk in the movie is the same boardwalk I was at. That must be why I felt like I was in the movie the whole time. Freaky.

These are my kids enjoying rides at the boardwalk while their dad keeps a vigilant watch for strange teens lurking deep in the shadows, a sure sign of a vampire menace.

Here in the full sun I can relax and know my kids are safe, but who knows what lurks under the boardwalk in the background.

Even though we didn't get in the water it was a pretty fun day. Afterwards we drove around San Francisco to a campground at the edge of Humboldt CA State Park for Costal Redwoods. More about that Monday.

7 comments Friday, July 3, 2009

Yeah I had a 2 week trip but definitely not a vacation. I think the problem is a difference in how that word is defined. My MIL, who I talked about extensively yesterday, seems to think that doing things other than work is the same as a vacation. I tend to think of a vacation as something that should be both fun and relaxing. I'm not opposed to doing things, but I like to enjoy what I'm doing, not just mark off a list of things that I have done.

Let me give a couple of examples. I wanted to visit the redwood national forest. Turns out there are more than one and more than one kind of giant redwood. Did you know that? Yeah I learned that a couple weeks ago. We went to the costal redwood forest between San Francisco and Eureka on our 10 year anniversary. Honestly I'm ok with that. I would have enjoyed spending the day walking trails with my wife. At one point this kids needed to go to the bathroom so my in-laws took them while we walked ahead on the trail we did walk. I got to have a nice 20 minute walk before the kids caught up with us. I really enjoyed it. The problem is that this was just the morning stop on our way to Eureka and we made a couple more stops on the way before having lunch and watching a movie in Eureka and then eating dinner before driving several hours to where we stayed. It was a series of check lists of things we needed to do for the "vacation"

I could plan a two week vacation visiting the giant redwoods so an hour was just stressful.

The one thing I kept saying I wanted to do was take my kids to the beach for a day at the beach. I wanted to let them play in the sand and water and experience the tide coming in so this is a daylong event in my mind. The date for this trip kept getting shuffled around to accommodate other things and in the end it was relegated to the Saturday after 3 days of Disneyland before a birthday party for my wife's grandmother. It wasn't worth it to me to drive 2 hours to the beach to have just enough time to let the kids stick their feet in the water before driving 2 hours back for a party. So the one thing I did want to do didn't happen.

Tomorrow I'm going to start talking about what we did do and there was a lot of fun in what we did. I just need to get this off my chest. I know some people like this kind of vacation. They want to go to Hawaii and do a million things. In the end they have more memories but in my opinion they didn't experience Hawaii. When I went I tried to limit what we did to one thing a day. We were there for 2 weeks and did a lot. I made a point of being in the ocean every day the entire trip. We saw all the major must see attractions but also found a few obscure sights that we had to hike to. It was the best vacation I've ever had because we got to experience the island instead of marking off a dozen things on a check list each day.

I saw an ad for a tour bus. They went on about all the things you would see and how much time they spent at each location. At one point they said you get to spend 90 minutes in the national forest that the trip was named after. It seems my mother-in-law would love to go on tour buses. A lot of people would love to go on tour buses. That is why they have these tours and good for them, but I'm not like that. I want to explore and find things. I want to ask a local about the best place to eat on the cheap. I want to walk through a city not drive. I'm just weird I guess.

8 comments Thursday, July 2, 2009

Have a very merry un-vacation …

Ok or something like that. Actually there were a lot of good things about my vacation but it was more than a little stressful. I want to share a lot of the good things including pictures, but I don't want to really mix the good with the bad so I'm gonna pull all that out right here right now.

Let me just say that 2 weeks was neither long enough and way too long. It wasn't long enough because there are things I wanted to do that we didn't have time for and it was way too long because of all the stuff we did do. My mother-in-law (MIL) is the root of most of the problems. She isn't a terrible person, but she is pretty self-centered and thinks I'm a villain. Seriously.

When my wife and I were dating she told everyone to pray for us to break up because I was a witch or satanist. She thinks anyone "evil" is a witch or satanist. She thinks I'm abusive to my wife and children now. She has often told me and my wife this. Needless to say her outlook taints her view of me. For years I tried but I pretty well gave up. I don't go out of my way to make her mad but I'm not out to make her happy either. In the end she gets mad at me either way so I just don't waste my energy.

That is the background on the problem between my MIL and me. Of course that is the simple version. She just can't help herself. It isn't just me she is really mean to everyone but doesn't get it. She told my sister-in-law that she wasn't good enough for her son. My brother-in-law didn't believe her but now my SIL will not stay in the same room as my MIL by herself.

Anyways, when we got there I was trying to play nice. I complimented my MIL right off the bat and she rejected the compliment. I was kind and courteous until she started complaining that my wife wanted to ride with me. It was the day before our 10 year anniversary. I had to put all our anniversary plans on hold because of this vacation which was scheduled to be convenient for my MIL. It is horribly inconvenient for me as any YP could tell you. My wife had been riding everywhere with my MIL and she wanted to come with me. My MIL pitched a huge fit and I just walked away. I wasn't rude or hateful I just left.

Later I got into a fight with my wife and my MIL felt the need to get in the middle. This time when I walked away my MIL followed and kept getting in my face over it. I told her blatantly that I didn't want to talk but she didn't get the hint. I let her keep talking but didn't even look at her much less talk. She went on and on and on then got mad because I wasn't responding. She said, "what have I done to you to be treated this way?" Yes, I understand she was trying to be helpful but she can't help when she won't listen. She is busy trying to help the wrong thing because she refuses to listen.

That is really the heart of it all. She hears what she wants. She thinks I'm a villain so everything she hears is translated into villain speak. Tuesday we had to drive back to San Francisco and she wanted to take her sister into LA and go all over downtown LA. She wanted my wife and daughter to come and my wife told her yes, but that she wanted to leave before 1pm. The is reasonable because much later and it would take a couple hours to leave LA. My MIL wanted to stay there till 4pm because it was only a 6 hour trip. She wouldn't listen and got into a fight with my wife. She kept asking my wife "what do you want to do?" My wife kept telling her she wanted to go but to leave by 1pm. My MIL would respond with, "what if I don't want to leave that early" to which my wife got upset because my MIL would then ask what she wanted to do as if the question was never asked and answered before. Eventually my wife broke down and yelled "I'm sorry I'm a horrible daughter. I should just go kill myself." Then she threw the phone she was holding and ran outside.

She eventually calmed down and my MIL talked with her but didn't hear anything she said. I know because the end result was that she got her way but whatever.

On Sunday before this we were talking about something much the same and my wife kept telling her what she wanted but my MIL wouldn't listen and kept saying what she wanted. My wife was getting frustrated so I tried getting her some space and told my MIL she needed time to think but my MIL accused me of trying to manipulate my wife. This whole time she was giving my very rude and hateful looks. She does this quite often because she wears her thoughts on her face and she is rarely happy. Her eyes were narrowed, her forehead scrunched, and her lips pursed. I know I shouldn't have but after nearly 2 weeks of getting the look and getting griped out I had to burn off some steam. I started mimicking her face. She got really mad. I've made her more mad but I think this was the most angry I made her on this trip. Later she walked up to me and said, "I'm sorry." So I told her, "I forgive you." I knew she wasn't sorry. She didn't sound recalcitrant but I forgave her anyways. Then she said, "Now you're supposed to say you are sorry." Yep, there it is. She wouldn't even say what she was sorry for because the point was to get me to apologize. I gave her the same apology she gave me and she fished for more. "You should say you are sorry for making faces at me." Then she went on to explain that she can't help it and so it is wrong and I'm not honoring her and I wouldn't treat me own mother this way …. Of course it doesn't occur to her that my mother would never treat me like that either. My mother wouldn't treat anyone like that and she would reprimand me for treating my MIL like I did even if she did laugh after I left the room.

So the day we were leaving my MIL was trying to talk to me again saying we needed to work all this out. I've had this talk with her pretty much every trip. They say the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over expecting different results. I guess I'm not as crazy as most people say because after running headlong into a brick wall enough times I give up and go around. I said pretty much that in nicer terms and kindly told her I didn't really want to talk this through with her as we got ready to leave. She kept insisting so I told her a bit more bluntly that I have no need to try and work things out with her when she thinks I'm evil. She kept going and eventually said, "Well maybe I unconsciously make hateful faces but maybe you unconsciously try to stop me from being a grandmother."

I think that gives a pretty clear picture of the problem. She thinks I'm evil and that shades her view of me and explains away her rudeness to me, but no matter what I do she has always thought I was evil. I know it isn't just me. In fact, the fact that she treats most people like this assures me that I'm not the evil person she thinks. When everyone in the world is the problem maybe they aren't the problem.