Tuesday, March 31, 2009

To the prairies and back...

A few weeks ago we were in Manitoba for a little visit. I'll spare you the complete details, but here are a few pics from the journey.

We found some time on our trip to snap some family photos. It was kind of an early 35th anniversary present for my parents. Lots of wet shoes from the snow, but at least we got a sunny day.

A friend, Nathan, hooked us up with some wheels while we were in the area. I seriously expected a used 1982 Dodge Caravan, so I was surprised when we were handed the keys to this beast.

I use the term "beast" affectionately. I'm not a big fan of Mustangs (or Ford for that matter), but ripping around town and splashing through March puddles in this thing was a blast.

And yes, I did actually put the top down, even if it was only for a few minutes.

But have you ever tried to sit in the backseat of one of these? The kids didn't have any leg room, and they hardly have legs!

A quick drive into Winnipeg on the Tuesday of our trip found us enjoying French toast with an old friend while making two more new friends. Chris, Kelly and Ben were great hosts and it was so great to catch up with someone I haven't seen in over ten years.

You know those people that you can start talking with and it's like you never missed a beat? This was one of those times. I wish we were a little closer to hang out more often, but we'll look you up the next time we're in town.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Just call me a tragic comic...

10,000 points to the first person who can correctly identify which band wrote a song containing the above lyrics. (No Google cheats!)

Now on to my unrelated topic.

Where have all the good comedies gone?!?!

This past weekend I tried, and subsequently failed, to find a good movie that would evoke within me the most sincere type of laughter. You know, the side splitting, gasping for air, rolling on the floor laughing my...you get the point.

The culprit this time around was Role Models. And while I am consoling myself with the fact that it only set me back $0.88, I'm still miffed that I was once again left without a solid 90-120 minutes of side-splitting laughter.

I've tried them all in recent months: Step Brothers, Love Guru, Pineapple Express, Superbad, Tropic Thunder, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, and likely a few more that I have tried to forget about. Taking into consideration that I saw Tropic Thunder in the theater, I've probably spent close to five whole dollars on the others.

Now, I know I should count myself lucky that I haven't been forced to fork over a mind numbing $6.00 to Blockbuster each time I want to kill 90-120 minutes of my weekend, but I'm annoyed nonetheless. Each rental has left me with a few chuckles, but nothing I could take to the bank. Nothing that makes me say to myself or others, "Now THAT was a funny movie!"

Can somebody please point me in the direction of a newer release that will actually make me laugh? I want a funny movie that I'll find myself quoting for weeks to come. A movie that I'll gladly recommend to others. A film that leaves me gasping for air.

The Princess Bride.

Brain Donors.

Men in Black.

Fletch. (Just for you Jon!)

The Three Amigos.

Tommy Boy.

Airplane.

Napoleon Dynamite.

Seriously, what happened to all the funny?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

I forgot how to read...

I am WAY behind on my reading goal of 52 books for this year. But I'm not giving up hope that I can get back on track.

I just finished book #13, which I've been working on for well over a month.

The Know-It-All
A.J. Jacobs

I actually swiped this book from my wife after she took it from the library. It traces Jacobs quest to read his way through the entire Encyclopedia Britannica. It's basically a large collection of mostly funny, sometimes eccentric, observations. You'll laugh, and you might even learn something.

I learned that a book, as defined by the UN, is anything that is at least 49 pages long. Erin can no longer argue that some of the books I've included on my reading list are not books.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Go watch...

Here's my list of three things you should make time to watch sometime in the next week:
  1. ABC's Nightline Faceoff "Does Satan Exist?"
  2. Mark Driscoll's final session at the Acts 29 Boot Camp. (I referred to this a few weeks ago here.)
  3. Simon Panrucker singing about guacamole and cake. (I'll embed it below for your viewing pleasure!)

Guacamole from Si on Vimeo.

Friday, March 27, 2009

9 years later and I'm still in...

Last weekend I sat in a room full of students for the annual Legacy youth conference at Ambrose University College. And while I expected this to be like every other weekend. Little sleep, tested nerves, mediocre teaching, rock star worship, awkward small groups, skits full of inside jokes, and terrible food. (Optimistic, eh?)

In reality what I got was more reminiscent of a similar youth conference 9 years earlier where God decided that it was time to do some work on my heart.

This past weekend I was faced with the fact that I've let bitterness take over so much of my life and my heart. And it was clear that it could not be ignored any longer.

In one of those experiential teaching moments I found myself setting aside my pride and selfishness and confessing my bitterness to God. I felt like He was asking me to let go and in doing so I experienced grace.

Now, I know that I'm not done. I still have many rough edges that need some sanding. But I'm trying. And I'm remaining open to what God has for me.

It was this past weekend that God reminded me of what he has asked me to do with my life. Not just in what I do as a "job" but also what I do with my heart.

So, I'm still in. That's what I told Him.

It's a heartfelt response much like I remember distinctly from 9 years ago.

It's a reply I've been hesitant to make, but it's one that I need to make regularly with sincerity.

I'm in.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Thursday...

I have some thoughts brewing.

In the meantime, for all you married folks...when's the last time you hung out with your spouse?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Musical notes...

Here's a few of the hits and the misses with musical purchases lately:
  • Decemberadio "Satisfied" - Sounds too much like 80's Christian Hard Rock. Think Guardian and your close. MISS
  • Josh Wilson "Trying to Fit the Ocean in a Cup" - I took a leap with this one after watching this video of him doing some sweeting looping. The album is a little too unoriginal and strikes me as too much of a typical Contemporary Christian Music album. MISS
  • Enter the Worship Circle "Fourth Circle" - I've been on the hunt for some new "worship" music and this fit the bill of new and original. I'm totally digging it and the band gets major bonus points for posting all their guitar tabs on their site. HIT
  • Jason Mraz "We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things." - You can accuse me of being a 13 year old girl, but I like the guy. And this Limited Edition came with an extra CD and a DVD. HIT
  • U2 "Get On Your Boots" (single) - A huge waste of $0.99. I'm glad the rest of the album didn't follow in the footsteps of this one. MISS
  • U2 "No Line On the Horizon" - It's freaking U2, what do you expect? Apparently they'll be in Vancouver on October 28. Anyone else in? HIT
  • Mat Kearney "Closer to Love" (single) - His last album contained a few too many redo's from his first CD release, so I'm stoked about the new album coming out in May. HIT
  • Dave Matthews Band "Sledgehammer" (single) - From the "Live at Mile High Music Festival", this is a fine cover of the Peter Gabriel hit. I still cringe every time I hear Dave's version of "Sweet Caroline", so when he does a cover I get nervous. But this one was well done. HIT

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Changing my outlook...

After weeks of rolling up the rim and hoping...even sometimes praying for a winning cup, I've decided to face reality. I'm already a winner. Therefore I'm no longer 1 for 13. I am now 12 for 13. I'm changing my persepective.

Sure, it may sound like reverse psychology, but I'm ok with that.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Who watches the Watchmen...

Not I.


Seriously, I found myself staring at the screen and wondering when it was going to be over, and that was only 30 odd minutes into it! Another 15 minutes and I was no more enthralled.

It was finally around the 60 minute mark that the movie was ditched in favor of a 12:00am Salisbury House run.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Would you believe...

Today I drove around in a convertible.

I lost again at rolling up the rim.

My kids woke up 2.5 hours earlier than usual.

I reconnected with 2 people in the last week that I haven't talked with in over 10 years.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Driscollisms...

I found a link that allowed me to watch part an Acts 29 Boot Camp video online yesterday where Mark Driscoll was talking about "The Call to Endure".

Here's a few notes I scribbled down in the midst of a million other things that were going on. I'll spare you the commentary as I believe most of them are self-explanatory.
"Minister from your life. Don't make ministry your life."

"Don't allow ministry to become your idol."

"Ministry is the one idol that other Christians will bless."

"Sabbath is fun. Involuntary Sabbath is not fun."

"(In the church) Your wife and children should do whatever they would do if they were not with you."

"You'll have lots of fans, lots of foes, and very few friends. Ministry is lonely."
I know Mark ruffles some feathers. But I find much of what he does say to be pure gold in the wisdom department.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

This is Tuesday...

It feels like Monday so I will now bombard you with randomness:
  • Yay for Brad! Senior Pastor of Parking & Recycling.
  • This season of 24 started a little slow for me, but it appears that Jack is finding his groove.
  • Had a Youth Ministry 3.0 "book club" meeting (part 1 of 4) with some of my leaders last night. It was a fun conversation topped off by Kool-Aid and over-sprinkled sugar cookies.
  • I am angry at "Christian music". I bought a stack of CD's so we could get some new tunes for our youth nights and 2 discs completely suck. Can somebody please point me to a decent "Christian" band?!?!
  • Taking a trip to the old stomping grounds in Portage this upcoming weekend. I hear it's cold there. Very, very cold.
  • I'd like to go see Watchmen, but I cannot find the time.
  • I have too many books that are in progress, with no end in sight.
  • I would like to do something random and different today. Suggestions?
  • I think my wife is beautiful.
How's your Tuesday?

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Book #12...

A Christianity Worth Believing
Doug Pagitt

This book gets me thinking. How much do I currently believe about my faith just because everyone else around me believed it? How much do I actually know for myself? How much do I live and hold on to because I want to, and not just because of my upbringing?

How often do I question? How often do I search for answers? How often do I dig into life and God?

The answer? Not nearly enough.

I think my favorite part of this book was when Pagitt introduced me to the term of "contrarian". Now, I will be the first to say that I'm not usually one to rock the boat. In fact, I probably wish I was more rebellious that I actually am. Not just so I can stick out or be "relevant", but so that I can cause myself, and others, to think more.

As Doug describes a contrarian, I found myself nodding along.

"But to me, being a contrarian means holding out hope when others have stopped hoping. It means looking past the limitations and imagining the possibilities. It means rethinking ideas that have been ignored or dismissed in the past." (7)

I don't want to be the one who loses hope. I don't want to stop thinking and rethinking. I'm not satisfied with the same old thing repeating itself over and over and over again.

I once got told that I was too pessimistic. I've struggled with that label. Maybe to some extent it's true, but I tend to think that a pessimist gives up on hope. A pessimist gives up on dreaming. They give up on thinking and rethinking. They give up on what could be. They give up on what needs to be done or what should be done.

I don't want to be the one who gives up.

And why? This pretty much sums it up:

"We are convinced that when we stop asking questions, when we turn away from a set of facts or an idea screaming to be considered, that's when things really fall apart. We are not trying to cause trouble; we're trying to stay out of it." (8)

I'd like to be the one who asked too many questions, rather than the one who regrets asking any.

That's my Sunday ramble for you.

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Breaking out in random song...

I've been unable to wrap my head around the fact that people actually enjoy dramatic productions where the cast appears to break out in spontaneous song at any given opportunity.

So I took my wife to see Annie last night. I bought her the tickets for Christmas and I think it was one of those gifts that she never expected.

While I would say that Stomp was a far more entertaining show, I didn't find the evening to be as painful as I would have thought. I almost feel culture, except for the fact that I felt like I was at a circus since there were so many kids at the show.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Oing, oing...

There are no words to describe this.

I cannot believe that this guy makes a living doing this.

But then I wonder if I've ever had days where I made no sense like that.

I hope not.




(ht Matthew Paul Turner)

I'd like to try something new here...

I've tried reviewing movies, music and books. But reviews tend to be so fickle anyways, so why bother?

I've tried random video posts. But if you post too many they actually cease to be random, don't they?

I've posted cool guitar videos I've stumbled across.

I've posted recaps of my week.

I've done reviews of our weekly student ministry events.

I feel like I've become an ADD blog, so I'm curious. If there was anything you would like to see/read here more often, what would it be?

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

300...

That's the number of unread posts in my Google Reader and it should say enough about the state of things lately.

In the meantime, I'd like to know if you bought the new U2 CD yet.