Friday, December 24, 2010

Day #11 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Random Christmas facts...

I miss snow on the ground at Christmas.

I like having the Christmas lights on all day.

I think I wrecked my first attempt at making Christmas fudge.

The kids are watching Home Alone.

Santa is being tracked.

Oh...Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Day #10 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Friday was our annual youth Christmas Bash. We had a really good turn out for our last youth event of the year, and it was a lot of fun eating pizza, watching students build gingerbread houses (and then watching them get demolished by head butts), and then wrapping things up with the used-gift exchange.

My personal highlight though had to be the end of the night when I was presented with this gift from my students. I've promised to wear it the next time I'm on stage at church.

And then last night it was off for our other annual outing. Christmas Lights with the Schutte's. The train rejected us, but Santa did not.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book #36...

Radical (Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream)
David Platt

The American Dream took my faith? But I'm Canadian. Too be honest, I think they could probably reprint the book without the American Dream parts and it would still speak a great deal to Christians around the world.

The basic idea is that we're just not living out our faith as radically as we should be. And you'll find no arguments from me. After spending time with some Christians on "the Island" back in June it is so completely evident in my own life that my faith is lived out in some very different ways. (And that's not necessarily a good thing.)

I just have my doubts that many people inside the traditional Western church have the desire to change. And that's because I sometimes doubt my ability to change.

Do I rely on God enough? Do I trust Him enough? Do I give enough to those in need? Do I pray enough? Do I pray at all? Do I share my faith enough? Am I urgent about it? Do I sacrifice? Do I risk?

I'm scared to answer those questions. Which leads me to believe that I probably need to spend much more time processing them.

And why on earth is Arcade Fire running through my head?

"Working for the church
While your family dies
You take what they give you
And you keep it inside"

Radical a decent read if you can overlook (or maybe just understand) the constant references to the American Dream and to American Christianity. I'm sure it will cause some questions to rattle around in your head.

While the challenge at the end of the book to take up a year long "experiment" seems a little gimmicky, you can't argue the fact that if you committed the next year to praying for the world, reading the Bible, sacrificing your finances, spending time in other parts of the world, and committing yourself to a multiplying church community, your life would likely take some significant directional changes for years to come.

I just wonder how many are actually willing to embark on such a journey.


Oh...and FYI, I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. I'm just saying.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Day #9 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Go to NoiseTrade.com and download Zack Williams "Storytime" for free. Do it. Then thank me for sharing this gem with you. It's not Christmas music. It's better. (No offense Jesus.)

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Day #8 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Post game press conferences hit an all new level of hilarity with this one.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

So this is Christmas...

I've got one more week of work and then it's a much needed two-week (almost) break. I've saved up some vacation days, and when used in conjunction with the office closure due to the holidays, I'll get to spend a fair bit of time around the house. I'm looking forward to a few things during that time:
  • Sleeping in.
  • Reading. I'm so far behind on my 2010 reading goal that I can't touch it now, but I might be able to make up some ground.
  • Hanging with friends and family. Meals, Christmas lights, and lots of laughter.
  • PS3. I need to redeem some recent losses I've experienced at the hands of my 9 year old son. I also expect to play a little Modern Warfare 2 online with my brother-in-law. Male bonding at it's finest!
  • Christmas shopping. So close to finished...yet so far away.
  • The Knott-Defries Christmas Eve tradition of appetizers and board games until all hours of the night.
  • Boxing Day. We have a gift card that's waiting patiently to be used.
What are you looking forward to this Christmas season?

Friday, December 10, 2010

An early Christmas present...

Thank you Jon Coutts for your incessant raving about CBC Radio 3. I finally succumbed and did some listening and iTunes subscribing, and while I'm also now convinced that almost anyone can get played on Canadian radio, there are some hidden gems that are taking over my iTunes playlist.

My personal favorite right now: Luke Doucet

Great guitar playing. Great storytelling. Great driving music. Great background music. Just great.


Thursday, December 09, 2010

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Day #6 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

I'd recommend not having a Gross Games Night as one of your final events before leaving your church.

Oh...do you recognize the guy in the background with girl hair?


Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Day #5 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

I once got hit by a deer. Seriously, the deer ran into the side of my car in the middle of Abbotsford.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Day #4 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

During our annual trip to Saskatoon from Portage we usually stopped here. Have you ever been to Gopherville?

I also regularly wore this shirt in college.


Sunday, December 05, 2010

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Day #2 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

My wife once convinced me that I should bleach my hair.

Friday, December 03, 2010

Day #1 of the Not So Normal Christmas...

Many people have been begging to see this photo of Erin. I don't have the heart to put it on Facebook. Instead it becomes Christmas joy for you.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Litle things...

I'm at one of those points where the clouds are a little darker than usual so I'm doing my best to try and find some solace in the little things. So here's a few things that have picked me up lately:
  • Winning some concert tickets on the radio. (And promptly passing those tickets on!)
  • A free lunch.
  • Spending time with my youth leaders. This is one part of my job that is not "work".
  • Singing Christmas tunes to my kids to try and figure out how much they'll let me sing before asking me to stop.
  • A gift card from some VERY generous people at church.
  • A long distance phone call from a friend.
  • The stuffed Santa Claus sporting Manchester United colors on my living room couch this morning.
  • A text from my wife.
I think we all need a little pick-me-up (and I'm not necessarily talking about the liquid kind) from time to time, so my goal in the countdown to Christmas is to bring you some great joy through this blog.

So, tomorrow will be the beginning of "12 Days of The Not So Normal Christmas". What can you expect? Actually, very little. But I'm sure at least one photo I will share with you in the posts to come will leave you with great inner joy.

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mo-vember Recap...

What have I been up to? Let's see...

I tried Movember, but I only made it 16 days until I had to shave what little fur I had on my face off because it was driving me bonkers. But I kept armpit that's growing on my chin. It's become like a third child to me.

Met my new niece. I will forever look at the pictures and wonder why I didn't listen to my wife and actually shave before we started snapping photos.

Hung out with some of my favorite people on the planet where we had to listen to a crabby guy tell our kids to shut up because they were laughing in a restaurant. The nerve of those kids! Laughing in a public place...how dare they! How. Dare. They.

Also got to see one of my favorite past-interns (there are so many, don't make me choose favorites).

Hung out in the hospital and at home with Erin as she recovered from surgery. If you can, remember to pray for her tomorrow when she sees the doctor to talk about options. We're asking God for an option that doesn't require waiting a long time.

Built some furniture. But only thanks to Ikea.

Stayed up all night to shop on Black Friday with my best friend. I hate shopping. I hate standing in lines. But we made Christmas a whole lot cheaper just by giving up sleep for an evening. And I got to have a burrito for breakfast, so that's always good too.

Preached. And promptly read from the wrong passage. (I also asked people to yell out what they love, and I swear someone shouted "polka".)

That's it in a nutshell.

Monday, November 01, 2010

Morning...

Are you a morning person? I'm not.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat...

17lbs of candy later...I kid you not...the candy is sorted into two bowls: the Nut Free and the Aidan & Erin. The kids are in bed and I'm wondering what I should eat first.

Did I ever tell you about our friends? When they were growing up their parents took half their candy to give to poor kids. Turns out that they just ate the candy on their own.

One of our youth leaders is trying to raise money for a good cause in the midst of all this candy goodness, so we agreed to donate $0.10 per candy. That's $47.50. Yeah, I counted every candy...even the half eaten pack of Mentos we got.

And in other Halloween happenings, this following video made me laugh, but only because I went through that same haunted house at Universal Studios last year and I nearly wet my pants. I even fell on the floor at one point. Yes, I am a coward.










Thursday, October 28, 2010

Book #34...

Leaders Who Last
Dave Kraft

This book was a quick read that has some pure gold when it comes to leadership insight. Sure, some of it you've probably heard a thousand times, but it still makes you go "Wow...I wish I had thought of that."

Apparently only 30% of leaders actually finish well. That's frightening stat if you ask me. And it makes me wonder what statistic I'll be a part of. But Kraft gives some helpful suggestions, pulling from his 70+ years of life to get leaders on a healthy path for leadership.

If you're involved in leadership, this is one you should have on your shelf. But you should read it before you put it there.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Intake...

Here's a sampling of what I've been reading, watching and listening to the last month or so.

Reading
I have a few books that I've read that I plan on doing actual reviews on because I enjoyed them, but in the meantime I've completed books #32 & 33 with these two:

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
J.K. Rowling
I'm trying to read through the series and watch the movies so that next Christmas I'll be able to go see the last one in the theater.

Dexter is Delicious
Jeff Lindsay
I read the other ones so I just keep on going. The TV show is better though.

Movie Watching

  • Heat (One of the greatest movies ever! And Erin hasn't seen it. We're about an hour into it.)
  • 2012 (Freebie from the library. Great to mock)
  • How To Train Your Dragon (Really good family night movie.)
TV Watching
  • Modern Family
  • An Idiot Abroad (I giggle uncontrollably throughout while wondering "Can anyone be that odd?")
  • Dexter (Definitely not for the squeamish.)
Listening
  • Words cannot describe the awesomeness that is Dan Mangan. I'm disappointed I won't be able to go watch him live in November when he's in Vancouver.
  • As always, there's some Dave Matthews Band playing on an almost regular basis.

Tell me you've seen this...

And tell me you had a chuckle at it.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Fear...

I'm afraid that one day I will wake up and completely forget that this blog even exists. I know that with the wonders that are Facebook and Twitter, there are fewer reasons to visit here. But since I've pulled back from Twitter, and I'm hesitant to post all of this stuff on Facebook, I think I'll try squeezing a little more life out of my blog for the time being.

Blog.

Blog, blog.

What a funny word. I feel like a nerd even typing this.

Oh well. Watch this and be amazed...


Saturday, October 09, 2010

Guess that...

Point tally. Cheryl: 45,000. Logan: 20,000

This week it's time for guess that...year!

What year was this picture taken? 30,000 points for grabs.


Friday, October 08, 2010

Bowl Cuts...

Did you ever have a bowl cut?

(And yes, that's Chris Tomlin in this video.)


Saturday, October 02, 2010

Guess that...

Cheryl's in the lead with 45,000 points.

I'll try to make this one a little tougher.

Guess that mess. What is this? Be specific.


20,000 points for this one.


Friday, October 01, 2010

Wish I was...

It's that time of year: National Youth Workers Convention.

I so wish I was in San Diego right now.

But I'll have to settle for a live stream here.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Books #27-31...

Soccernomics
Simon Kuper & Stefan Szymanski
This ended up being more dry than insightful. I gained a little more soccer trivia, but on the whole I wasn't too thrilled with this read.

The Good News About Worry
Dr. William Backus
It's come to my attention that I may have anxiety issues. They aren't off the chart, but they do exist, so I thought I'd do some reading on the subject. Turns out I've got lots to learn, but I'm enjoying the insight I've been gaining. It's helping me keep some things in perspective.

The Story of the Christ
Scot McKnight
I was speaking at camp this summer about "Encounters with Jesus", so this seemed like a good way to get myself in the proper head space.

If I Knew Then What I Know Now

Len Woods & Dave Verman
Where were these books when I was starting out in student ministry?!?! I'd add this one to the list of "must reads" if you're planning on going into full time student ministry, or if you're in your first few years. Actually, even if you've been doing it for 10 years the chances are you'll get some helpful reminders from what you find in this book.


Harry Potter & the Philosopher's Stone
J.K. Rowling
If you saw the conversation that came about because of a Facebook post I made where I was trying to borrow the book, you'd know I'm a little reluctant who I tell about this. But then again, I need to keep track of my reading, so ta da! I read it and so far I haven't turned anyone into a pumpkin.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday evening grooving...

This video brings me great joy and smiles. Enjoy!

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Guess that...

As far as I recall, Cheryl has been cleaning up at this game. In fact, she may be the only one playing. But I think Jarno is giving her the answers!

Would there be more interest if I was giving less exciting prizes than points? (Why anyone wouldn't want 15,000 extra points is leaving me dumbfounded.)

Round three of "Guess that..." (15,000 points up for grabs until I figure something else out.)

Today there's 2 parts.

Guess that...celebrity duo.


Friday, September 24, 2010

And we're off...

This was our first full week of the new schedule. Kids in school. Erin in school. Me with our changes in youth nights. (Incidentally I'm already loving the fact that I now have a night off between youth nights!) But I'll be honest...it was all a bit of a blur. And now it's Friday?!?!

I've had to make some intentional choices to pull back from some things that I'd love to be doing, but after last year it was quite evident that I could just not maintain that pace without it getting the better of me.

My personal goal this year is to be a full-fledged pastor to students.

Ask me again in June how it's going.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The perks...

Part of my job means that I get to perform weddings. (No...not perform "at" weddings a la Adam Sandler.) That's something that not many people get to do, and I count it as a great privilege.

Last weekend I was asked to perform the wedding for a former student turned co-worker turned friend, Swarley (but properly known as Josh).

What a blast! It's even better when you get to do a wedding for someone you know, as you
get to tell embarrassing stories about them during the ceremony.
Josh...remember the time I made you watch Twilight on your own as an internship project?

Josh...remember that time you went speed dating in exchange for me buying your supper...and all you ordered was a salad!

Josh...remember the time you turned bright red during a trip through the mall when someone pointed out the lingerie section and said "Look Josh...it's boobie land."

I actually didn't tell that last one in the ceremony, but it's still pretty funny.

After the Friday night rehearsal which was held in a church I previously worked at, we decided to sneak down into the basement and check out the youth room. It was remarkably similar to the way we had left it almost 5 years ago, except that it was obviously getting ready for a paint makeover.

Nonetheless, it was a great little hike down memory lane.
  • the full wall picture frames one of our leaders designed (and ended up getting used at some Youth Specialties seminars)
  • the fire hydrant acquired during "The Van Thing"
  • the Playstation we left behind that Erin & I had bought each other as a wedding present
  • the "Living Room" sign we developed for the basement door
  • the scribbles of "RIOT" and "LUG" on the pillars
  • the only thing missing was the sign in the crawl space saying "No floor hockey in the crawl space." (Mike Yaconelli would have been proud!)
Many things that represent parts of 5.5 years of my life. It makes me wonder what my memories will be like another 5 years from now. And how many more weddings I'll get to do for friends and former students.

Anyways...congrats Josh & Nicola! So glad we could be part of your day.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Avatar...

I finally got around to watching Avatar last night. I was so Dutch that I waited until I could get it for free from the library instead of paying $0.88 on a Thursday.

Can I be honest? I don't see what the big deal was about. I didn't even really like the movie. Sure, as far as visuals go, it was decent. But they're big blue smurfs people! And who uses the papyrus font anymore?!?!

Would it have been better on the big screen?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Hope for all musicians...

I finally got around to watching "It Might Get Loud". It's a documentary about how Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White make and create their sounds with guitars. There's some great little jam sessions that the three of them share, as well as stories about how they came to be where they are now.

I heard this quote and was forced to stop the movie to write it down.

"On occasion you get nothing. You come out feeling like a complete idiot. You don't know anything and you can't play guitar and you can't write songs."


I cannot tell you the number of times I leave my guitar playing times frustrated and feeling like I can't play or make music. I've always wished that I was a better musician. That I could play better. That I could write full songs. That I could sing better. That I knew music theory better.

And then I hear someone like The Edge, who is obviously a living legend, describe word for word how I've felt on so many occasions, and it gives me a little hope.

After watching the movie I just want to play my guitar...but the kids have currently taken over the back room.

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Gorge...

I remember picking up my first Dave Matthews Band CD "Crash" when I was in high school. I was hooked. The albums, MP3's, and DVD's haven't stopped coming since then.

I almost saw them live in 2001. (A long story, but suffice it to say that I gave up my ticket because it was more important to stick around for some friends who had an emergency.)

Then Erin and I went to a show in Vancouver in 2002. She was "with child" an
d was having a particularly difficult time with the unusual blue smoke permeating the air. (Strangest smelling cigarettes ever!) We made our way to the concourse after 4 or 5 songs, and left after 6. It wasn't worth it.

In 2008 we were able to find a mostly smoke free environment at the Key Arena in Seattle to watch Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds play. After that show I knew I had to
see the band play again.

I wa
ited. And waited. And tried. And tried. (I might have even whined and begged.) The annual stop that DMB makes at the Gorge Amphitheater in Washington was on the top on the "must see" list. So when the band announced this summer that they were taking 2011 off and not touring, I knew I had to make one show this summer.

So Logan and I jumped in a car last Friday at 7:00am and made the 5 hour drive to the Gorge to watch night #1 of a three night concert series. (We camped out nearby and I met the rest of the family on the return trip in Seattle on Saturday for our annual Labor Day Weekend trip.)

Letting my my true geek side show, I tried to keep up with the setlist by punching into my phone what was being played. I only got 2 songs wrong and one I had out of order (I've marked them below with an asterisk). That's got to count for something!

This was the actual setlist for the evening: (I've put my personal favorites from the evening in bold.)
  1. The Last Stop
  2. The Dreaming Tree
  3. Shake Me Like a Monkey
  4. Grey Street
  5. Busted Stuff
  6. Seven
  7. Crush
  8. Write a Song*
  9. Spaceman
  10. Cornbread
  11. Loving Wings*
  12. Sleep to Dream Her (First time played since August 1, 2008)
  13. Gravedigger
  14. Sister
  15. What Would You Say
  16. Dancing Nancies
  17. Time Bomb*
Encore:
  1. Some Devil (Dave solo)
  2. You & Me
  3. Jimi Thing
What an evening of music! While a few of my all time favorite songs got played on the Saturday and Sunday night, I have to say that I was not disappointed, except maybe mildly about the opening song which is one I don't like at all.

Now I just need to figure out a way to do a whole weekend at The Gorge in 2012.

Oh...and just a little FYI. In the three nights of shows, the band did not repeat a single song.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Guess that...

After the amazing time we had last weekend with the first ever "Guess that...", I think we're on to something.

Round two. 15,000 points for the first correct guess.

Guess that...TV show reference.


Friday, August 27, 2010

Books #21-26...

As always...don't judge me by what I read. My excuse this month is that it's summer.

Dexter in the Dark
Jeff Lindsay
Meh.

Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
Seth Grahame-Smith
I wouldn't be surprised if one day in the distant future that someone picks up this book and assumes that it is historical. Did you know that Lincoln hunted vampires? Oh please make this into a movie.

Wonder, Fear, And Longing: A Book of Prayers
Mark Yaconelli
Needed to change up the mindless reading a do something to look after the heart and soul.

The Ark
Boyd Morrison
So that's what you think the ark really was/is?

Help! I'm a Small Group Leader
Laurie Polich
A quick read that serves as a good resource for the leaders of student small groups. I'll be making all our small group leaders read a copy as they prepare for the upcoming year.

Steve & Me: Life With the Crocodile Hunter
Terri Irwin
I remember discovering the Croc Hunter on TV during a trip to Hawaii years ago. Crikey! And it was a sad day when he died. Did I mention that I have Croc Hunter toys on my book shelf?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Coming soon...

While the actual number of guesses were not that large, it turns out that the blogosphere flocked to the first ever edition of "Guess That..." last Saturday. I would like to thank all of you, especially the one family who probably viewed that page a thousand times alone.

I think I may need to put some more thought into what I'll post this Saturday.

I'm open to suggestions if you have any.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Strep...

Strep throat is the official diagnosis around our house. We'll assume that Becca started this immediately after we got back from vacation. I picked it up about midway through my camp week and then Erin and Aidan are the last to jump on the band wagon.

This was supposed to be my first day in the office in over 3 weeks. Instead I'm opting for various medications, my couch, a book, and some TV.

I wouldn't wish this on anyone. In the last week I've lost 5-6 pounds because I just can't bring myself to eat.

This too shall pass. This to shall pass.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Book #20...

Leading On Empty
Wayne Cordeiro

If you are a leader in a church you need to do yourself a favor and go buy this book. You're not a leader? Go buy one and give it to a leader near you.

This book was like a good punch in the face. The kind that reminds you that you don't like getting punched in the face and you need to do something in order to prevent getting punched in said face in the future.

I'm also going to tell everyone to buy this book. Brad bought it, and he's so awesome that you should just do it to be like Brad. Or to be like Mike.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Guess that...

I think a little game would be a good way to start the weekend.

It's called "Guess That..."

I'll show you a photo. You need to respond correctly to win.

This week it's "Guess That...Chest!"










Today's prize: 15,000 points

Friday, August 20, 2010

Camp...

Last year I got invited out to speak to the Senior Teens at Camp Kawkawa. I was only able to spend a couple days there because of prior commitments, but I had such a blast that I asked the director, Wayne, if he would give me first dibs this year. He did.

I just got back. And it was a blast. I haven't done a week at camp since I was the same age of my own kids, so this was basically a brand new experience. Late nights, early mornings, food, games, campfires, waterfront...shall I go on?

The best part was I took my family along for a few of the days. They put us up in a brand new bungalow that overlooked the lake. They fed us like royalty. Seriously, this camp has the best camp food ever.

Only one problem. I got wiped out midweek by some bug that Becca had last week. I was up for 2 nights with a fever, headache, sore muscles, sore throat, and an inability to generally cope. I'm over the worst of it (which Aidan and Erin and just now entering in to), but it made for a rough couple of days where I slept the afternoons away instead of being on the lake.

This week was yet another solid reminder that I love working with teenagers. Fascinating creatures that they are, life is never dull with them around. I was talking all week about "Encounters With Jesus" and we definitely got to see some first hand encounters. I even got to participate in 6 baptisms on Thursday morning.

All in all it was a great experience to be had.

But now it's back to "normal life" and we all have to shake this stupid bug.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Let it begin...

A new season of footballing is now officially upon us, having beat Chelsea 3-1 in the Community Shield. Having watched a few of United's preseason games on the PC, I'm stoked to see what will happen this year.

Giggsy and Scholes are still at it. Owen is fit (at least temporarily). Vidic signed on for another few seasons. Rooney didn't get injured at the World Cup. Signing a Mexican striker who looks like an added boost of speed up front. Berbatov looking ever so calm. Macheda looming in the background ready to prove himself. Valencia ready for the runs down the wing.

Shall I go on?

Sure, no big name has been signed in the summer. But I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing. Fergie usually knows what he's doing.

The only thing I'm holding out for is that Setanta HD will show up on the Shaw Direct lineup very, very soon.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Love the So Cal...

I don't know why but I've developed a soft spot for Southern California over the years.

We just got back last night from our latest adventure. We were able to snag some cheap flights in April and decided it was time to take the kids on a "flying" vacation.

Thanks to a little help from Grandpa, the kids thought they were flying to Vancouver Island right up until we passed through the security clearance when a guard said "Take your parents on all the scary rides, ok?"

Best response from Aidan when we finally fessed up, "Does this mean we aren't going to the Island?"

But what a blast we had. Exploring Disneyland, eating In-N-OutChick-fil-A, wandering through Hollywood, driving along the coast and just generally enjoying non-stop time together.



Highlights of the trip:

I drove our rental car straight off a curb thinking it was an exit from the parking lot. Lesson #1 learned: It pays to get the extra insurance.

Becca on the dance floor...only it was Bieber that was playing. Seriously...she jumped in there with very little prodding. You won't see any pics of Aidan on the dance floor...unfortunately he deemed dancing as too embarrassing.


Watching the kids get picked for Jedi Training. Aidan was thrilled to face off against his hero...Darth Maul.





Finding a Ferrari...in a mall parking lot! Sure, it was in the middle of LA, but still it's kind of funny, right?






Jumping on the Grizzly River Run minutes before the park closed. The was the most water we got hit with ever on this ride!




Acting like California tourists and strolling for stars.









Checking out the Hollywood sign.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Starting vacation...

Today is the official start of weeks of vacation. With it I am pleased to show you a video that made me laugh.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Oh Happiness...

For your summertime listening and viewing pleasure:

Monday, July 26, 2010

Monday...

Just got back yesterday from spending the week with some students and leaders down at Creation Festival, a music festival in Washington.

As I'm doing a little reading before starting a day of post-camping trip clean up, I found this video and it kind of gutted me.

If you're not familiar with the work of Invisible Children, go check them out.


Nate Henn // 1985 - 2010 from INVISIBLE CHILDREN on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

10 years...

I passed a milestone at the beginning of the month.

Ten years of working full time with students.

I remember starting at a small town church in Alberta and my initiation was heading off on their annual long weekend Bike Trip. I remember my first office and how bare my walls and shelves were. I remember wondering how I would fill my days.

But I also remember being ready to take on the world.

I was so naive.

10 years later and I've filled my shelves and my walls. I've filled days and nights and weekends and months. I've lost sleep (and hair). And I have realized that I still know so little.

But I'm currently doing what I love to do.

In celebration, I painted my office this week. Ok...so Erin painted my office. But I still picked up a paintbrush a few times.


I wonder if I have another 10 more in me?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Book #10...

Somehow I forgot to post this review. Oops!

Hear No Evil
Matthew Paul Turner

Another snarky (that's a word, right?) book much along the same lines as his previous one called "Churched" (review here) that seems to make fun of his fundamentalist upbringing and his experience within the world of Christian music.

I found the occasional piece of humor within a few of the stories and I was particularly drawn into the story of how his former boss tried to get him to write a dirt article on Amy Grant (short version here), but those moments seemed to be few and far between for my liking.

This book almost felt a little rushed and came across as a little disjointed and random.

If you aren't familiar with Turner I would probably liken him to a writer version of Derek Webb. He like to stir things up and cause the occasional ruckus. And I know that many people would probably stop reading his stuff, but I find that while he occasionally annoys me...I actually enjoy it.


So, I've got an extra copy to give away. Would you like it? Leave a comment with some sort of music story and I'll randomly pick someone by Thursday and throw it in the mail for you.


*This book was provided for review by the WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

Currently playing...

Here's what's making the rounds in my CD player & iTunes lately.

Rend Collective Experiment "Organic Family Hymnal"
Finding new "worship" music tends to be a crap shoot...most of it is unoriginal, poorly written and uninspiring. Not so with this one. Besides, how can you not like a group who figures out how to do this:



John Mark McMillan "The Medicine"
I've been listening to the album via Grooveshark for the last few months, but the CD finally released (again) and I snagged a copy last week. Love this album! Go and buy it. You will not be disappointed.

The Tragically Hip
"We Are the Same"
I'm not a huge Hip fan or anything, I think it's by Canadian obligation that I listen to them. The jury is still out on what I think of this album though as I have not really "listened" to it...it has been on in the background.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Never blogged about Oprah...

Until now. And it actually has nothing to do with Oprah.

This guy is fairly funny.




And this is part 1 of his travel show.


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Yoda...

While not nearly as funny as the previous Darth Vader video, this one is still worth a few chuckles. I should buy a TomTom.

World Cup...

I love this game. It's too bad that a month of soccer comes to an end this weekend.

Pick your final score.

I'll go with Netherlands 2 - Spain 1

Friday, July 09, 2010

Summer TV...

Let's face it, TV in the summer is terrible.

So, admit it. Which shows do you watch?

No judging allowed.

We're watching Whale Wars (season 3) and Glee (season 1).

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Slowing down...

I've been officially "on vacation" this week. Where to? Nowhere. What have I been doing?
  • We've set up the kid's pool in the backyard. (It'll take a month of 30 degrees to heat that thing up enough that I'll actually get in it though.)
  • We finally replaced the old rusted out BBQ.
  • I passed my knowledge test for my Class 4. (Sure, it was the 2nd try, but I still passed.)
  • Watching football. (Sometimes I wish the World Cup was every year!)
  • We had friends from Edmonton stay with us for a few days and we took in the Canada Day parade and the Aquarium.
  • Reading about Abraham Lincoln, who was apparently a vampire hunter. Who knew!
  • Playing some video games.
  • Watching some summer TV.
Such a great start to the summer. Anyone want to come over for a BBQ?

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Stop Doing It...

Something Andy Stanley said at Catalyst West has been haunting me for months.

He was trying to break apart two myths that are prevalent amongst leaders, and especially within church leaders.

Myth #1 - Great leaders are great at everything
Myth #2 - I need to focus on my weaknesses and wing it with my strengths

Apparently when we start doing everything we start damaging ourselves and hurting our leadership ability. He was trying to get us to see the need for focusing on what only we can do and then delegating the other tasks to other leaders. By doing so we free ourselves up to thrive, and we create opportunities for other leaders.

Looking over the crowd at one point he started talking about the burnout that was probably evident in the lives of some of those in attendance and he said something to the extent of, "It's not the amount of work you're doing that's killing you, it's the kind of work."

I think he would argue that burnout starts when you're doing too much of everything and therefore not receiving energy and satisfaction from what you are good at doing.

So he tossed a few questions (below I have put only 4 of them) our way:
  1. What do you do that is almost effortless from your perspective but daunting to others?
  2. In what areas do people consider you the "go to" person?
  3. What energizes you?
  4. What do you wish you could stop doing?
This idea of "playing to your strengths" has been floating around in leadership circles for some time now, but it seems like most people (especially those in church circles) are slow in catching on to it. I know I have been.

Thoughts?

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Almost there...

Another morning of work and then I'm officially on vacation for a week and a half. To make it through the next little while, I will find much joy in this video.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Back to normal...

One of the things I love about BC is the fact that I can play soccer year round. The only problem I have had these last 4 years is that I have been unable to connect with a team that actually plays during the summer. So I've been stuck with lots of rainy Saturdays on the pitch instead of sunny warm evenings.

But that came to an end. A guy I know from Aidan's school and who I play against in our rec league has been trying to get me out to play for their coed team. Yeah, it's coed, but it's still a chance to play the beautiful game.

Tonight was my first time playing since March (I think) when our team lost a semi-final match in extra time. And my body was shouting at me pretty loud...and it still is. But I was able to net a couple, which is always good for the soul.

Summer soccer is normal. I've missed it.

Book # 18...

Stuff Christians Like
Jonathon Acuff

Jon started a website by the same title. I've read it a few times and got some chuckles, but mostly dismissed it. Then I heard him at Catalyst West. Funny guy. So I bought the book. I laughed. Go buy it. Enough said.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book #17...

Vintage Church: Timeless Truths and Timely Methods
Mark Driscoll & Gerry Breshears

I started reading this one back in February or March (which shows how far behind I am in my book reviews) for a teaching series we were doing about "rethinking church".

I find that these two guys cram a lot of content into their books, and that it's good for my brain. I don't think that Mark is bang on with everything, and I'm not particularly thrilled with his view of women in leadership, but you need to admit that he's a bright guy who has no doubt spent some extensive time in Scripture.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Books #11-16...

I'll recap a little of what I've been reading lately. Don't expect much by way of reviews. This is mostly so I can keep track of my reading total for the year.

Angry Conversations With God (Susan E Isaacs) - Funny. Sarcastic. Unusual. Basically a woman takes God to counseling in the midst of sharing her spiritual journey.
13 1/2 (Nevada Barr) - I need to stop picking up books out of the 7-day-only pile.
Darkly Dreaming Dexter (Jeff Lindsay) - I thought I'd see what started all the hype about the TV show.
Worst Case (James Patterson) - Sucked in by Patterson yet again.
Dearly Devoted Dexter (Jeff Lindsay) - I actually like the way this guy writes. Sure, the stories are a little dark, but I'm finding that his stories are keeping me captivated.
Wishful Drinking (Carrie Fisher) - She strikes me as a funny lady, so this book was an impulse buy on a trip through the bookstore. There are a few chuckles, but mostly it is just sad.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Island Life...

We got back last Thursday night from "the island".

And while the recovery process has been a little difficult (lack of sleep combined with...um...intestinal issues), I find it hard to try and describe to others what I experienced.

Here's a short recap:
  • Seeing a 5 year old pray for healing...and seeing those prayers answered.
  • Being taught what hospitality actually looks like.
  • Eating some amazing food.
  • Eating only one meal that registers on the "Uh oh...I probably should not have eaten that" scale.
  • Eating a small lime whole...and being mocked because I couldn't handle it.
  • Sweating more than I have in the rest of my life combined.
  • Visiting pastors & churches & small groups.
  • Leading some seminars on marriage.
  • Eating a pineapple off a string.
  • Getting prayed for.
  • Breaking a camera lens.
  • Squishing a cockroach on our hotel room wall. The guts remained there 2 days later.
  • Learning about "the mystery" of island life.
  • Being propositioned...in the middle of the day...in front of our entire group!
  • Teaching a group of students.
  • Finding a spaghetti dinner for supper.
  • Playing along with the worship team and discovering that I did not have the stamina to play that fast for that long.
  • A pig roast.
  • Almost getting attacked by a bat in a cave/tunnel.
There is no way to sum this trip up. We spent almost 3.5 hours on the weekend taking our parents through the pictures and telling stories.

I loved every second of the trip. It has opened my eyes and my heart.

But now I'm tired.

Sunday, June 06, 2010

What the what...

Uh...Beckham in the Star Wars Cantina?!?!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Shake the Dust...

Saw this guy at Catalyst last month.

Book #19...

Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesn't Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?
Pete Wilson

Let's face it, we all have some idea of how we'd like life to turn out. But the reality is that life usually doesn't end up looking like the picture we had in our head. We tend to get a little (or a lot) out of sorts when things don't go as we plan.

We didn't plan for that specific health issue, but we need to face it. We didn't plan for that family emergency, but we have to deal with it. We didn't plan for that job to fall through, but we need find our way through it.

We like to think we know how God should work. We know what's best. We know the perfect plan. The selfish desires that rage inside want to be able to call the shots and dictate how we think God should work. In essence, we decide that we are god.

I think this book is Pete Wilson's attempt to bring a little perspective to our life situations. To move us away from the selfish thinking of "why me?". To move us away from the "God, fix it now!" To challenge us to get past the "I am in control."

Which one of us doesn't need a helpful reminder that we are not god? We are not in control. And sometimes we need to trust the One that is God, and the One that is in control.

If you find yourself in a place where you're asking "Why is this happening to me?", this might be a good resource to help you process what's happening around you and in you.


BookSneeze® has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book to review.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

2 weeks...

I made my last post two weeks ago?!?!

In the meantime...
  • Montreal was finally ousted from the playoffs. And as a true fan I do not support either Chicago or Philly in the final series.
  • I was led to a book by Anne Jackson called In Praise of Slowness by Carl Honore that I am totally loving and I'm only 2 chapters in.
  • Preached on Sunday. Oh...and completely obliterated the 20 minutes I was allowed. They might never let me preach again.
  • Took off to Seattle with Erin & the kids for a couple of days. Had a great time reading, swimming, and wandering the Pike Place Market. But I was unable to convince Erin that buying me an iPad would be a good use of money. She's smart like that.
  • Picked up Eric Clapton's 24 Nights at Easy Street Records. Always nice to find another addition for my Clapton collection. Always a kick in the teeth to find out it would have been cheaper on iTunes.
  • Starting a new teaching series with our high schoolers tonight called "Stories". We're getting leaders & students to share what God is doing in their lives over the next 4 weeks.
  • Bought some new soccer cleats. 6 studs. Bright yellow. And it's raining, so I'm itching to get on the field and give them a try.
  • Had a great phone call with a skinny fat guy that made my day.
I do have some book reviews coming. And some freebies. Hang in there.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spirit of '86...

Or maybe '93.

I am filled with unspeakable joy. First the Habs barely make it into the playoffs. Then they knock off the league leading Capitals. Then they take care of the Penguins. And they do so with stellar coaching, blocked shots, phenomenal goal tending, scoring from everyone...and amidst a host of injuries to key players.

Some say that they should not have made it this far. But when you watch them play you can't deny that they totally deserve to be where they are now at.

I'm now watching the final 9 minutes of the game because I had to go to youth.

And now for your viewing pleasure...


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Stand By Me...

You gotta love the Muppets right?

Saturday, May 08, 2010

GPS...

I would buy a GPS unit because of this alone. They use the voices of Darth Vader, Yoda, C3P0 and Han Solo.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Living legend...

My wife is taking the stage during our second service this Sunday to do announcements. She's never done this before. Although one time she prayed in church and she apparently went up to the stage at the wrong time. So she's nervous.

But then she makes a comment about how the design team was saying that it should be fine as long as she doesn't "pull a Mike".

Wait a sec...my name is Mike. What's the connection?

I once announced that someone was dead during announcements. Not abnormal...except when the guy is not dead. He wasn't even sick. I think he was on vacation.

Now it is apparently known as "pulling a Mike" and I am just finding out about this today.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Tune it up...

Somewhere along the road I stumbled across the music of Zach Williams.

Then I'm at Catalyst West last week and the guy shows up on the stage!

He shared about how his wife was paralyzed from the neck down after an accident and how he started writing music while she was in the hospital. By way of a miracle she is now totally healthy and they have 2 kids.

Gifted song writer. Here's a part of a song called "Hospital".

Thanks to Mike Foster for the video.

ZACH WILLIAMS SINGS HOSPITAL from PEOPLE OF THE SECOND CHANCE on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

My students made me cry...

Ok...update. I'm apparently healthy. Well...at least physically. All the test results were normal. All except the occasional extra beat my heart will take. (But they aren't worried, so I'll say that the extra beat is just for Erin! That must get me some bonus points right?)

So now I've been told I need to get some rest. Go for a walk. Talk to a professional. And sleep.

I know that's the simple version and sounds easy, right? But you'd be impressed by just how difficult I can make the easiest of tasks.

This is all new to me. I'm used to broken bones and torn ligaments. I'm not used to no sleep and racing minds.

I think I'm learning a lesson about trust.

I shared a bit of my journey with my high school group tonight. Then they asked to surrounded me to pray. Then the tears started. And while I still attempt to wrestle/wade/journey through this season of life one night at a time, I am reminded of God's love and the love of others.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Post Catalyst...

I just got back from Catalyst West in Irvine, CA.

I'm tired since Jamie and I had two different flights and had to get up at 6am today. (FYI, 6am is unheard of for youth pastors except in the case of allnighters.) The good news being that we caught the final 15 minutes of the United win against Spurs. But I digress.

There's so much to process after the week. I'll probably get some of it down here in the next week or so. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, here's a light little story to hold you over.

Jamie and I got off our Alaska Airlines flight this afternoon and awaited our luggage. He got his and mine was no where to be seen. The woman unloading the cart says that they have two more bags up front.

This is what she throws me.

A grease covered Nike bag.

They have no idea what, or how, it happened.

She adds that I can go wait at the front desk and fill out a "we destroyed your bag" (my words, not hers) form.

I decide to go for it. What else am I supposed to do? Throw this is the trunk of the car and get grease everywhere?

So, I patiently waited my turn behind a couple of irritated individuals who had not even received their luggage. The site of my situation brought some laughter.

A couple of security guards came over to take photos. One asks me if I've smelled it to ensure it is actually grease. I laugh it off and tell her that she can. She declines.

My time finally comes and a couple of people start filling out the necessary paper/computer work. There's talk about trying to get me a new bag. Then a supervisor radios in that they should look at getting it cleaned. The guy working with me laughed and said that was going to be impossible.

They ask me if I'd like a replacement bag.

The first one that they bring out is about half the size of my grease-covered bag. The same guy from earlier chuckles and points out my stuff won't fit. So they head back and return with a brand new suitcase.

The only catch is that I have to leave my grease-bag with them.

This is no simple decision. I've had that bag a long time. It's made a number of trips. It has history. We have memories.

Ok, so I didn't think about it too much.

I thanked them for the luggage upgrade, transferred my stuff over and was on my way. Now I have a new suitcase.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Going retro...

Aidan and I had guys night while Becca was out and Erin was doing school. We watched The Phantom Menace on VHS. Can you say retro? Aidan loved the movie though. At least it wasn't because of JarJar Binks.

Then I settled in to watch Sherlock Holmes, which I was enjoying in between naps. But I'll have to try and watch the last 30 minutes sometime today so I know how it ended.

As for today I'm not planning much. Watched some soccer. Will watch some hockey. And probably some more hockey. Tough Saturday, eh?

Sorry for the lack of substance in these posts lately. I'm hoping I'll have some good content after the Catalyst trip next week.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Thursday...

Today I...
  • had a chest x-ray
  • had some blood drawn
  • had an ECG
  • got hooked up to a holter monitor
I'm wiped. My brain won't shut up.

And this stupid monitor itches like crazy. It comes off at 9:20am tomorrow.

I'm praying that all of this is nothing more than stress related.