Tuesday, November 27, 2007

infinite reruns....?

Hey all...not a huge post here. But if you've been curious about the Writers' Strike that's been going on for the past 4 weeks (which is why many shows have begun showing reruns, and shortened seasons) here are a few resources for you to check out.

Warning: No language filters, and you may find some offensive words. But overall, it helps explain the issue a bit more than most of us have heard.

THE YOUTUBE VIDEO - The one that explains (in under 4 minutes) exactly why there's an issue.

United Hollywood - A blog written by some leaders in the strike.

A You-Tube Video by cast/writers of "The Office"

So anywhoo...let's hope they get some stuff figured out before LOST comes back in February. :)

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thursday, November 22, 2007

50th Post!

Congrats friends, it's my official 50th post (on this website)!

Hope you all have a great Thanksgiving with friends and family....relax, watch some football, eat some pie, read a fiction book...drink some coffee.

Those are my plans....and I've begun the day watching Elmo with my daughter, because I woke her up when I got up to use the restroom. (don't drink 3 glasses of water just prior to going to bed) Oh man....she LOVES Elmo. Although I think I'm getting her sufficiently hooked on "Yo, Gabba Gabba" also!

Check out the video evidence...as she gets out her wiggles... video

Been putting together our Conference Youth Website this week, and planning for a Senior High retreat in January....pretty stoked to be involved in all of it!

Post-thanksgiving means preparation for Christmas! In advent of Advent this week...we'll be putting a few lights up outside, a few wreaths around the house, etc. We're not getting a tree this year, but a friend Ashley has hooked us up with a $5 ex-display tree from JC Penney's. 7.5 foot tall, Pre-lit and pre-decorated, and pre-assembled. And did I mention $5? Cause if I'm going to sacrifice my integrity with a fake "tree"...it'd better be cheap and easy. :)

Anyways...have a great Thanksgiving...and we'll see you on the other side!!!

Friday, November 16, 2007

...an option. ( a really good one)

So...I don't know how to get around the patterns we're already in. And you'll probably enjoy reading this about as much as I enjoy writing it.

But we all can admit more money is being spent in the next month or two on stuff that we don't really need, and oftentimes will just end up throwing away eventually anyways.

Most of us have heard of these options by now. Organizations that allow you to give a gift to someone overseas in the name of someone here. Some chickens to provide eggs for food, a pig or goat or cow, some plants or trees, or beans or rice, or even housing, education materials, etc. The list is really long.

But it's probably too late this year eh? The Christmas lists have already been written. Your spouse is the one in charge of gift-giving usually. Too many people you know have the love-language of "gift-giving/receiving". People have already bought you a gift. It's just how it's done. (These are all my own excuses)

But some things remain, and money is still in our pockets. If you're not ready for a "no-gift" Christmas just yet...here are some ways to shave off costs, and do a good thing with the money you save:

1. Handwrite/type Christmas notes instead of cards. Usually you can say more, and make it more personal anyways. Even if people tape them on their fridge, we can all agree we throw them away eventually.

2. Wrap with old newspaper. Sure, snowflakes are cute...but I think we can sacrifice some cuteness for something this important, right?

3. Candy-schmandy. Unless it's REALLY good stuff most of the Christmas candy out there is just a nickel's worth of toothache for a $5 receipt. Save your money...we all eat too much this season anyways.

4. For the gifts you haven't bought yet...give used! A great book you've read, a movie you've watched and bought for some reason, some entertaining magazines you've enjoyed, a program or game you can stand to part with. A decorative touch that sits in storage somewhere. We all have great stuff that is just collecting dust somewhere. Let's all agree not to get offended if the gift we get doesn't still have shrink-wrap....k?

5. Buy fair-trade and/or home-made. Find out the sources of the gifts/cards you're sending/giving. Support justice, creativity, and other hippy-stuff that really is less hippy and more Jesus-ish.

For real though....we have brothers and sisters who will spend this holiday season watching with hungry eyes as so many of us stuff ourselves, and throw huge amounts of money down the drain. Human life, and the quality of living is so much more important than the "things" that will just make us smile. And truth is...knowing these good things are being done, offers us the same smile, with a deeper foundation. Maybe click one of the links above, and check it out?

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

a few practical updates...

In case anyone was wondering, YES, you can get a $10 ticket for parking the wrong direction on the street right in front of your own house. Even if your car takes up the same exact space on the road. I should have remembered this from the Illinois "Rules of the Road" But there's even more irony to this story:

On the same day that I found this ticket on my car, I got a call from the Mayor's office. Let me give you some background info. Quite a while ago, I'd read a blog from the Mayor's website asking for more citizens to be willing to step up into volunteer roles in leading the community. At the time, I realized hey, I'm a homeowner! I want to be a part of this community long-term, and it would make sense for me to set an example to other citizen's by volunteering some time. I sent him a message to let me know when an opening occurred on a council I could serve on.

So...the same day I received my parking violation, I got a call from the Mayor's office, asking if I'd be interested in serving on the City's "Traffic and Parking Commission". I confessed to my recent violation, and she sounded like they'd still consider me. :) I'll keep you updated as I hear back!

In other news...I attended my annual Redwings' Game last night and we had a BLAST! I was sportin' my new Brett Lebda jersey, signifying that YES, I am a REAL fan, and not just a bandwagon Yzerman hugger. But the Wings' lost. (and someone spilled beer down my back) That is a bit frustrating. Every time I've seen them play in Chicago, they've lost. So I figured, a game in Saint Louis...cake-walk, right? But they had a bad night. Ah well...someday I'll witness a victory first-hand, and for now, the beer washes out.

One more update: WE GOT SOMETHING FROM WHEEL OF FORTUNE!! No, not any money, but we got our $1,000 voucher for VEGAS.COM . We've made plans to go to Vegas for our 5 year anniversary! We're going at the end of this month....staying at Treasure Island , and going to see David Copperfield (Sarah's pick, unless it's canceled because of all charges and suits against him), Tournament of Kings (our pick), and Spamalot (my pick). So yeah...it'll be a busy 4 days....but we're stoked!

That's it for now....a lot more to say, but plenty of time to say it....God Bless YOU this week!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

...see you Sunday?

I just recently read the book "Starving Jesus", because I signed up to help promote it in order to get a free copy. Here's a few thoughts. (notice the capitalization of the letter "C")

A large part of the book beats a dead horse over and over and over and over again. Basically, these guys have become upset with the Church, and everything they don't like about it. But there is a section here and there that's worth reading, enough to make the book worth a read. Basically a call to do more than sit in a pew, and get into each others' lives.

Right towards the beginning, one of the authors decides to start going to church again, even though he realizes not much that's going on in the church feeds him. Why? Because he wants to be a part of the solution. He realizes Church is not about how I liked the music, or how I liked the sermon, or how things looked, or how ______ treated me.

I can understand these thoughts, because many of the young adults I've known have similar feelings. They hear a Church that talks a lot about worship, love, grace, and serving the poor. But they see a Church that is focused on music style, selfish, that makes judgements about other people (always with good intentions), and that spends more money on furniture polish than they do feeding the hungry. If you're looking for a church that spends more on feeding the hungry than furniture polish....check us out!

One of the messages of the book is...stop analyzing "how" to do Church...and go DO SOMETHING that Jesus talked about as the body. Serve one another. Serve without expecting in return. Share life with each other more than a simple "how are you this morning?" on Sunday.

Basically, if you enjoy Church...this book may rub you wrong. But maybe that's good once in a while. Yeah, it beats a dead horse....but sometimes a dead horse deserves a good beating.

But if you or someone you know really has a tough time getting out of bed Sunday mornings because they're sick of how they've experienced Church so far...or just because sleeping in is a whole lot more exciting than the Church they've known....check this book out. You may be stirred....

Thursday, November 01, 2007

A Golden Freak-Out....

Wow. I know I've posted a lot this week, but I really gotta say something. Now, I don't mean to offend anyone who has sent me a well-intentioned e-mail recently, warning me of "The Golden Compass". But after about 10 of them, and seeing this pop up all over the internet, I wanted to say something.

Stop freaking out.

Yes, the author is a self-proclaimed atheist. Yes, this fantasy series involves an illustration of children "killing god", or "combating the oppressive forces of a senile God". But to think we need to "take a stand" against this horrible film that will somehow infect the minds and souls of our children like an atheistic virus if we watch the movie or buy the books seems to be a bit over the top.

The link that most often comes with the warning is to a website called SNOPES.com . I still highly recommend this website, it's great for checking all the myths and rumors your grandparents forward to you. But even in Snopes' article, the final paragraph reminds us this may in fact be a powerful tool we can use to discuss organized religion, and the difference between what it has done in the past, and the Heart of God, both with young adults and possibly even with children. Why is it that so many people would rather not be involved in organized religion? That is an important question for us to be discussing.

Ultimately, as with ANY movie with challenging themes (meaning any good movie)...it should be chewed on together, and discussed. I believe to watch a good movie, and never reflect on it again means it must not have been a good movie, or you must not be a good movie-watcher. This one is no different.

If you choose not to go to it...that's fine. If you want to inform other people that this movie may bring up difficult questions....good. If you're trying to fuel a mass hysteria that makes us look like a mindless horde avoiding a children's movie because we're afraid of our children asking questions....stop. The world is watching.

Looking over my post...I didn't know how to translate it into a more loving statement. So know that I love each of ya'....sometimes my love is blunt. :)