Archive for February, 2006

Welcome to the New Site…

Friday, February 24th, 2006

I’m Feeling: Pensive
I’m Listening To: They Might Be Giants – Apollo 18

Well, after a good run at LiveJournal, I’ve realized that I’d rather have a site over which I had a little more control, so I went ahead and got this. I’m looking forward to being able to do more with pictures, and having a good place to put other things outside the blogdom.
So, welcome!

Thank Goodness…

Friday, February 17th, 2006

I’m Feeling: Thankful
I’m Listening To: Curling match (men’s – Finland vs. Sweden)

Praise God that the Olympics are only 2 weeks every 4 years. I’ve been up watching until now (4:30am), and will probably stay up to watch the women’s hockey game and the women’s curling match coming up. That means I’m pulling an all-nighter to watch people play shuffleboard on ice. This is not entirely healthy.

Ian Checks Out the Park

Friday, February 17th, 2006

I’m Feeling: Optimistic
I’m Listening To: Curling match (men’s – Finland vs. Sweden)

We recently took Ian on his first-ever outing to the park. Okay, this isn’t strictly true. He’s been to the park with us before, but he was so young he pretty much lay there like a slug. This was his first time to go when he could enjoy it at all.
Hannah and I walked for a bit when we first got there, and when Hannah’s brothers got there, I started playing frisbee with them, while she kept walking with him. It was also the first time he’s been to the park where he’s been big enough to sit upright in his stroller, and doesn’t have to be strapped into his car seat. That’s a big plus for him… he used to have only two choices of what to look at: Hannah (or me), or the sky.
We figured we’d try the playground, and were pleasantly surprised that, even at eight months, he enjoys at least some of what it has to offer. He took to the swings especially.

We tried going down the slide with him, but we’re both too heavy for gravity to overcome that pesky old friction, as demonstrated by the following diagram:

So that may have to wait a little while so he can appreciate it for himself. All the same, good times. I can’t wait until he starts running around, and doing things like monkey bars, slides, etc. In the meantime, I’m content with him liking the swings. :-)

Curling: It’s in the House

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

I’m Feeling: Happy
I’m Listening To: Olympic men’s figure skating finals program music

I dig the Olympics. I especially like the Winter Games, because they have a greater percentage of sports I like watching. In the summer, I could really care less about most of the track and field stuff, which is odd, because I really enjoy watching the winter equivalents, like short track speed skating.
The breakout hit for me, though, has got to be Curling. This sport is awesome. Some would argue that it’s not a sport. I could potentially agree with them. It is much more of a “game” in the same tradition as, say, bowling (which I also like, although it’s still not an Olympic event :-) ).
I am pretty much hooked on the curling. I have ultra-basic cable, which means networks plus TBS, USA, and FX. The beauty is that USA is the channel NBC has chosen to show most of their curling coverage. The only bittersweet fact is that the matches are shown live. Which is great, because in the Salt Lake games, they only showed highlights, no matter which channel you watched. So it’s awesome when they’re shown live, because there’s no chance that they’ll cut away, because there’s nothing else really going on in the earlier parts of the day. The down-side is that since the games are earlier in the day in Italy, they’re at like 5:00 in the morning here.
The best part about all of it is that I have a really flexible work schedule. This has led to two 10:30am starts this week, as I have spent extended breakfast hours in front of the TV, enjoying the last 5 ends or so from each match.
If you haven’t checked it out, watch it, or have someone tape it for you. It’s sweet.

An Answer to Prayer

Thursday, February 16th, 2006

I’m Feeling: Contemplative
I’m Listening To: Olympics on TV

God is pretty cool. My small group is currently doing a study of the book of Acts, which we’ve been in for the past few months. Our conversations have, accordingly, turned a lot to spiritual gifts. I’ve been thinking more and more about gifts lately, even re-reading a very good book called What You Do Best in the Body of Christ by Bruce L. Bugbee. I’ve been trying to clearly understand my gift(s) and how I am or am not using them effectively for the kingdom.
Many of you know that one of my major passions in life is music. I love making it, although I don’t get the chances I wish I did, between the time restraints of being a husband and father, and not being part of any group or ensemble. In fact, I really haven’t picked up my trumpet in over a year, my poor hammered dulcimer collects dust in my basement, and my accordion sits next to the dulcimer. My guitar is the only one that gets any kind of regular workout. I do get to help make music, in a way, every third Sunday when I run the sound board at church. It’s not quite the same, but I know that it’s an acceptable offering.
I’ve been praying lately that God would give me an opportunity to play with the worship team at Rooftop, but they’ve all been healthy and in town for the past few months (I’m a utility player, on trumpet and accordion, and fill in when the band is especially scant). I’ve also been hoping for a crack at playing guitar with the band, because then I can focus less on the music, more on the worship. So last Monday, I was uber-enthusiastic when I got an e-mail from the worship director to play both guitar and accordion. What an answer to prayer.
Unfortunately, after confirming with Jason that I would definitely be there Sunday, I remembered Monday night that I had to go on a retreat for first-year teachers with SLUH from Saturday to Monday. I was pretty ticked. So, I e-mailed Jason back, hat in hand, and let him know that I had to back out.
I went on retreat, and when I was packing, I thought really hard about whether to bring my guitar. Ultimately, I decided not to, because there wasn’t going to be a ton of free time. So, I got there, and was completely okay with not being able to play Sunday morning. Here’s where God went to work. Saturday night, a teacher from one of the other schools asked the group if anyone could play piano or guitar for her school, since they were in charge of one of the services, and their musician apparently couldn’t make it on the weekend. Surprisingly, out of 75 people there, no one there played piano.
So, I raised my hand, and after some confusion as to what music I’d actually be playing, I ran home at like 10:45 that night (I got back to the retreat center at 12:30) and got my guitar. The music was pretty unfamiliar, as it was a Catholic liturgy, which I’ve not attended in several years, and for which I have never played music. But it went great. I had a good time, and in all of my days growing up in the Catholic church, I’d have to say it was the most worshipful experience I’ve ever had in a Mass.
A prime close-a-door-open-a-window moment. Sometimes I like being near-sighted. So I say again: God is pretty cool.

God Gives Me the Gift of Time

Wednesday, February 8th, 2006

I’m Feeling: Rejuvenated
I’m Listening To: They Might Be Giants – Tracks 1-8 from Mink Car

Last night, I got home after Hannah had already left for her small group. This was great, because it meant that I had about three hours of whatever-I-want time, which is good for everybody, I think.
I enjoyed the two new episodes of Scrubs, and then played my guitar for an hour. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to play for so long, uninterrupted.
It was really great… I was able to just sit there sideways on my couch, in my basement, no phone ringing, no laptop, guitar in hand, worship binder on the couch in front of me, playing and singing to God. Fun stuff. God’s really been working on my heart lately. I can feel Him pulling me back into Himself, getting me back to a level of understanding and maturity from which I’ve been steadily declining over the last year or two. He’s blessed my hands, too; songs I had trouble playing two years ago are a breeze now. That’s a pretty good feeling.
Here’s to hoping that I don’t stop there, but keep growing beyond anything I’ve ever known before (I’m talking spiritually now). I’m looking forward to small group tonight.