rick & 1j13
Saturday, January 31, 2004
Our Saturday addition to MEME WEEK comes from fragment | a writing meme. Three sentence fragments have been posted to stir the creative juices - woo hoo.

  • the moment when he
  • back to the car
  • nothing wrong with


    I thought back to the moment when he rammed the pontoon boat into the dock. We had been having such a happy and carefree day up to that point - lots of sun, lots of diet cokes, lots of chafing from water-tubing on the lake. All day, whether just soaking in the breezes and floating on the fairly calm surface of Lake Murray, or jamming the throttle to full speed (not all that on a pontoon, but still) and cutting off waveriders, I thought we'd been having fun. All the while, he was seething - getting more and more angry just under the surface. While I'd thought there was nothing wrong with putting my coke on the deck without a coaster, he was evidently alot more anal than I'd been led to believe over the course of our five-year friendship. But when I picked up my can and found that it had left a ring - it was like the bomb went off. He pushed the throttle forward, hit the dock, through four of the six of us out of the boat and into the shallows - and just started yelling. It was that deep, guttural Howard-Dean-yell, from some inner reservoir of anger that needed some release. Then, he turned off the boat, took out the key, flung it into the algae grass growing on the other side of the inlet, and calmly walked back to the car.
  • Friday, January 30, 2004
    Today, I'm just really have a tough time dealing with painters.

    There are different kinds of painters. Some are artists, hoping to splash a canvas with vision, with good story, with some scene to behold, some portrait to embrace. Others are more utilitarian, painting walls to match or to coordinate with the couch, or bringing some color to cover the sterile pale hospital-yellow of the last residents of the house. Some folks specialize in painting the outside of the house, making it look great to prospective buyers and covetous neighbors. Others do wonderful jobs painting cars, doing body work and making each vehicle a piece of traveling speck-free art. And then there's finger-painting, my personal favorite, as we approach the paper and the paint and all of life as a child - love to get messy in there.

    All of these painters have their callings, their abilities, their talents, their particular ways of doing what they do with the tools to do it right. So it really bugs me when I watch and follow and look forward to what's being created - and then it goes... wrong, somehow.

    Say you're painting a wall blue - that's fine, hope it goes with the carpet and furniture, you know what you're doing. But when two-thirds of the wall is done, let's now shift to green, ok? Everything up to that point looks good, and I like how it's showing on the wall - it's all good. But why do we now switch to green? Run out of blue paint? No, just switching gears and thought patterns a little bit - got something against green? I like green - but we were painting blue on that wall, right?

    Or maybe you're painting a beautiful landscape, with rolling hills and lush valleys, a mountain in the distance touched off with a crest of snow, maybe a river lollygagging across from upper left to bottom right, some rocks on the bank. Almost done? Hmmm... let's put a gas station right there on the shoreline. What? Yeah, maybe a little gas station, something to break the moment, give it a little class. What? That doesn't fit, does it? Sure, it does - and this is our painting, right? We're together, right? C'mon, fall in line - get on board with the gas station in the meadow. Can you feel it? No... not really.

    I know I'm standing in judgment over what's being painted, and that at some level I'm placing myself in judgment over the painters. So if that's where it ends, I've got to deal with my own pride, my own superiority thingie that is blinding me from what might well be the exactly right way of doing what they're doing. Maybe I missed something. Maybe I didn't get the memo, you know?

    At the same time, I'm just not following the color schemes, the portrait layouts, the nuances and cadences of the how and why that's going on in producing what is ultimately "art". While the room is being painted, I love the blue, and I'm really kind of fond of the green - but why did he paint that way? I love nature scenes, and I've got nothing in particular against gas stations, or modern architecture in any form really. It's just that they don't seem to fit... right... somehow.... I tilt my head to the side, trying to get a new perspective.

    I'm also not stuck on having to be "right" in this case. I'm no art critic; just commenting on what I see/feel, what I like/dislike. Not about to argue with the artist... just wondering, trying to follow, trying to fit into the picture being painted, you know?
    The only portion of MEME WEEK that has really been followed around here is the Friday Five. That's not a knock on any of the other lists, 'cause I've had a good time with some good questions this week. It's just where I meme'd first, and where we stop to meme again today - bling bling:

    You have just won one million dollars:
    1. Who do you call first?
    My wife, if she's not with me at the moment. If she is, then I call security first - keep me safe, boys.

    2. What is the first thing you buy for yourself?
    Either a car or plasma TV - toss-up which would actually be first.

    3. What is the first thing you buy for someone else?
    Ring for my wife.

    4. Do you give any away? If yes, to whom?
    While I don't have that $$, I'll be real open and say I'd probably give $200K to the church - but that's God's already anyway, right?

    5. Do you invest any? If so, how?
    Definitely - paying off the mortgage and doing a little work on the house, and then getting a planner to help with stocks and bonds.
    Where was everyone last night?

    Our midweek services are on Thursdays rather than Wednesdays. Last night, Pastor continued in our walk through Ephesians entitled "WALK WORTHY" from Ephesians 4:1. We were in Eph 1:15-23, and I was struck about what revelation really is in our Christian lives. It's an activity of God, something that results in true change, not just getting puffed up for knowledge's sake. "Just knowledge" might make us look more godly or more righteous, and it might make us think we're growing and maturing as Christians. But real revelation will bring a new obedience to our lives, a new hope & a new hopefulness in Christ that shows up in real life transformation.

    So I'm wondering: where was everybody last night? 'Cause it was pretty sparse in the sanctuary. For as glowing the recommendation for our church from most folks, they must've thought they had enough "revelation" already.
    MEME WEEK here at 1J13 Central, and I completely forgot Thursday - oh my! So here's "yesterday's" addition to the theme for the week, from 3 For Thursday (01/22):

    1. Do you like Disneys Animated movies? If not why don't you?
    Yes, some of the best stories out there; and having kids helps you know what's good animation and what sucks

    2. Name 3 of your all time favorite Disney Animated Movies.

    3. Name 3 Disney characters you can most relate to.
    "Most relate to"? Woody from TOY STORY, Genie from ALADDIN, Rafiki from LION KING
    Thursday, January 29, 2004
    SI.com - NCAA Basketball - S. Carolina nips Vandy, remains atop East - Wednesday January 28, 2004 10:53PM

    Wednesday, January 28, 2004
    I feel like I need to do at least one more Oscar-nominations-have-come-out-and-here's-why-I feel-LOTR-should-rack-up kind of post.

    Last year was full of good movies, and I've seen most of the ones I wanted to see. I still want to catch MYSTIC RIVER and LOST IN TRANSLATION, but I'll probably have to wait on THE LAST SAMURAI and MASTER & COMMANDER on DVD later this year. For me, the hands-down favorite is LOTR:RETURN OF THE KING. I've had discussion in the past on its morality and storytelling in the use of magic and mysticism, and I don't necessarily want to re-hash any of that. But I do want to say that the three films, taken together, should be such a historical work of film-making that there should not be a contest. There will be, of course, and it might not sweep in every nominated category. But there has never been anything like it. Tolkien geeks like it because it stays fairly true to the original. I'm on a different tack though - it's a movie where the storytelling drives the action and the technology, not vice versa. THE MATRIX messed up because the technology drove the story-line, which might've been a *part* of the whole thing since it was humans vs. a matrix of computer design anyway. But in the end, I felt nothing if not cheated that there wasn't more to the story of the MATRIX universe. But here in Middle Earth - wow. To see sprawling landscapes and such incredible war on such huge canvases... you couldn't have imagined any more than was already there. The music was appropriately moving; the performances were fairly well done in making you want to know what happens next; and the story drives it all, from the beginning in the Shire to the end and the farewells. Even drawing out the ending so long in LOTR3, it felt appropriate to me given the length of the work as a whole. And that's where it will win - taken as a whole across all three films, there are very few films over the last 25 years that come close in scope, in action, in romance and in the underlying story of it all.

    And FINDING NEMO needs more props, too, just in case anyone's paying attention.
    Here's a MEME WEEK post for Wednesday - thanks for What's On... Right Now (last week's question, 01/21, so I might change this or add today's when it gets posted):

    What's On your front yard right now Right Now?
    You mean, besides the icy tree in the photo below? All of the little ice bits that melted off and crashed to the ground yesterday, the aftermath of what one tv station called "Ice Storm 2004". Boy, hope they don't have to get creative if another winter storm moves through the area this year.
    Missed it by that much...

    Tuesday, January 27, 2004
    CNN.com - 'Rings' reaches for Oscar gold - Jan. 27, 2004

    Bring on da noiz, bring on da funk. This movie better sweep. If you sit and watch them all in a row - not at one time, but three nights in a row maybe - you'll be treated to a great story that drives grand effects and wonderful music & emotion. But I don't get to vote...
    Continuing MEME WEEK here at 1J13, I want to try my hand at Tuesday Twosome - Super Bowl Week:

    1. Patriots or Panthers?
    Panthers - am I going to say anything else with this blog scheme?!?

    2. If you could get in, name two celebrities you would want to run into at the Playboy Party.
    Franklin Graham and Len Sweet - I'd ask who they've been witnessing to, too.

    3. Would you throw a party at your house or go to a bar to watch the game?
    Got HDtv here - party at my house. And Franklin Graham & Len Sweet are invited, too.

    4. Which is more appealing, Beyonce singing the National anthem or J@net J@ckson performing the halftime show?
    most "appealing" - flipping the channels, looking for all the super bowl ads running on competing networks
    *UPDATE 02/02: at least Beyonce kept her clothes on!!!

    5. Jake Delhomme or Tom Brady?
    Jake - and really, just hoping for a great game.
    Blogging on battery power this morning. We've been without power since about 2:30p yesterday, and so far, not too bad. The coffee press has been helpful - sterno-heated water steeping the coffee grounds - yummy. The Gameboy SP has held up well, but it'll need to be recharged soon. My laptop has 50% power left, but that's no promise. And our portable DVD player lasted thru one full movie and half of another one before dying last night. All in all, I only wished I had brought home my little TV from work so we could catch the news.

    At least I'm not in Minnesota. Yes, positive over-freezing temps expected today, and it'll be quite balmy by tomorrow. Woo hoo.
    Monday, January 26, 2004
    MEME WEEK: I think I'll start with this week's Baker's Dozen: "The idea is to come up with twelve thoughts and one pic to describe your weekend. Try using quotes, events, blog entries, whatever." Hmmm...

    First, my photo - more from today than the weekend proper, but if you're iced in and can't go to work, that's an extra day to your weekend, right? This is the radar picture I cut/paste from Weatherbug just a few moments ago. The rain is falling and freezong on pretty much everything. We're wimps down here in the south - everyone's staying home:

    1. Friday night, my son's basketball team went to 7-0 with one game to play.
    2. Saturday, the Gamecocks held off LSU - going well for "my teams" this weekend.
    3. There are times when the people you love the most get on your nerve the most. Take my daughter.... no, wait, I better keep her here.
    4. Yesterday's bible study on humility and sermon on "now run the dang race" - I'm really having a tough time today putting any of that to practice.
    5. Golden Globes picks LOTR - take note, people.
    6. There's not enough programming on our HD channels - yet. I hope.
    7. I've already started too many books this year. It's not even February, and I'm behind in "finishing more than I start".
    8. Two weeks is way too long to wait for a Super Bowl.
    9. The Local TV News does a good job of keeping the puiblic up-to-date on bad weather conditions. Or, they do a good job at alarming the populace and creating riots in the bread and milk aisles of the local stores.
    10. "Twelve thoughts" - that's more than I have in a normal week, much less a weekend.
    11. We've done our part in participating in the grocery riots - do the news stations plan that with Bi-Lo?
    12. We're all home now, and warm. That's important right.
    CNN.com - 'Return of the King' dominates Golden Globes - Jan. 26, 2004

    All of the hype was for Cold Mountain. "If Cold Mounain does well, watch out." Well, it's probably a fine movie. I look forward to the DVD rental from Netflix later this year. But LOTR is a fine movie *and* a cultural highpoint of artistic technology and incredible storytelling. Jackson's film will win based on the sum of its parts - and it's all good.
    Panthers Update: The team has landed in Houston, ready for practice and all the festivities this week. They left Charlotte at the beginning of the ice/snow onslaught, and landed in the balmy 71 degree sunshine of South Texas - not a bad way to spend a week.
    Well, last night's two-hour-delay for school opening this morning has turned into school closings across the midlands. Woo hoo - but why can't it be snow instead of nasty ol' ice? There's nothing good about an ice storm - except the school closings, I suppose. Meanwhile, since I'm a thirty-minute commute from work myself, I'll be working from the kitchen table and staying home, too. The office is on a delay - "Open At 10am" - but I'm better off toughing it out here.
    Sunday, January 25, 2004
    For the end of such a lo-o-o-ong week, this weekend has been fairly uneventful and full at the same time. We spent most of yesterday doing nothing, and today has been good - starting at church and ending now with the possibility of being iced in for Monday morning.

    We finished up the study on HUMILITY this morning. For anyone paying attention, this is a word/theme God has laid on me for 2004 - and even though the Bible Study at church this morning is "done", I've got a ways to go. Today, we discussed how real humility:Pastor finished up his "HE IS ABLE" series with this title for Hebrews 12:1-5: "He Is Able - Now Run The Dang Race". Actually, I added the "Dang" - but didn't have the heart or the guts to actually put that on the powerpoint slides or tape labels. But moving from the "humility" discussion, we as christians too often have God figured out, and we presume upon His character and His promises, and then we don't actually do anything worthwhile or growth-producing in our lives or in the kingdom.

    Good Sunday, even without football. Yours?
    WIStv.com Columbia, SC: Winter Weather closings, delays and postponements

    My wife right now: "oh please oh please oh please"

    We don't get much snow, and no one really wants ice - but if there's a chance of at least a two-hour delay, that's cool. We're too far south, wimps compared to Minnesotans, I'm sure. But you take what you can get.
    The State | 01/25/2004 | Honor rolls under fire at Nashville schools

    The following is an imaginative fictional account of the phone conversation that led to these decisions:
    Saturday, January 24, 2004
    I apologize ahead of time for the links/ads on the included link, but it's the most engaging review I've read yet of Mel Gibsons' THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST: read the review here.

    Really looking forward to this movie. They're pre-selling tickets online already - MovieTickets.com, Fandango, etc. I've been invited to a pastors' preview the morning of 02/25 - way cool. Hope I'm as blown away by the movie as I have been by the pieces I've seen already.
    Friday, January 23, 2004
    Duck Hunt - no kiddin'.
    This has been... a week. Hasn't it? Even with my wife and kids getting a holiday Monday, we all feel run down and worn out from how long, how stress-filled, how absolutely nutty this week has been. "Challenging" is the first descriptive word that comes to mind; "convicting" is the second one. I've been watching people, reading some stuff, listening for God to speak - and I've been pricked: things need to change.

    You've probably felt some of that, too. I know I'm not alone. I was moving garbage to the curbside this morning (I hope the pesky raccoon that ripped into our last trashbag and licked all the leftover bowls of chili from Tuesday night is running around the woods with a tummy ache and the runs today!!!), and I shouted good morning to our neighbor, Ray. We both agreed - short weeks just mean that five days worth of work has to be done in four. Same kind of week for him, probably for you, too.

    So here we are at the threshold of another weekend. I'm looking forward to not having to do much of anything tomorrow - but I also know I'll be busy with something, anything that might need to be done. Groceries, chores, putting new light bulbs in, cleaning the playroom, shopping for someone's birthday present so our daughter can go to the skate party Sunday afternoon, basketball game tonight.

    Life is full. It is abundantly full. And yet, I don't think this is necessarily what Jesus had in mind: We live an "abundant life" that is really stealing, killing and destroying us. Instead of resting in what Christ is actually promising here, we get over-busy, over-spent, over-stretched in our responsibilities, activities, even church things. That's not the "abundant life"; that's not "life to the full."

    The challenge, the conviction for me this week - maybe for you, too - is to just be what God has called me to be: Christ-like. Difficult enough, but totally available in His grace, right? Anything else is graceless, because most of what I find myself involved in apart from that calling is full of my own will-power and determination, not His empowering and enabling grace.

    Maybe it's just me.
    FridayFive time, boys & girls:

    At this moment, what is your favorite...

    1. ...song?
    "Dead Man's Rope", Sting, Sacred Love

    2. ...food?
    homemade chili - love to cook when it's chilly outside

    3. ...tv show?
    According To Jim

    4. ...scent?
    walking into Starbucks

    5. ...quote?
    This is from yesterday's Utmost/Highest devotional: "Many of us have a mental picture of what a Christian should be, and looking at this image in other Christians’ lives becomes a hindrance to our focusing on God. This is not salvation—it is not simple enough. He says, in effect, "Look to Me and you are saved," not "You will be saved someday." We will find what we are looking for if we will concentrate on Him. We get distracted from God and irritable with Him while He continues to say to us, "Look to Me, and be saved . . . ." Our difficulties, our trials, and our worries about tomorrow all vanish when we look to God. "
    Thursday, January 22, 2004
    I hate politics. And the worst time for a person who hates politics is an election year and all its nuttiness. But a good speech is a good speech. Here are some excerpts that stand out to me from the transcript of President Bush's State Of The Union Addess, 01/20/2004:
    CNN.com - Report: 'Titanic' director doing new film - Jan. 22, 2004:Cool - who cares if it actually has a story or not.
    Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland. The wild animals honor me, the jackals and the owls, because I provide water in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself that they may proclaim my praise.
    - Isaiah 43:18-21

    When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, "Will you give me a drink?.... If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.... Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."
    - John 4:7-14

    Why was Jesus thirsty?

    I'm meditating on this passage in John 4, where Jesus goes through Samaria and stops at a well. While the disciples branch out to find a McDonald's to buy lunch, Jesus sits and waits for them to come back. A woman comes to the well, drawing water for the day's chores. Jesus was thirsty, and since he hadn't brought anything to bring water up, He would need help. "Will you give me a drink?"

    She asks why would He, a Jewish male, ask her, a Samaritan woman, for anything? And He tells her of living water, of how drinking from His wells would fulfill all your thirst. On a natural plane, she wanted this water, and as He explained a little further, the supernatural nature of "His well" came to light. She could only offer Him a sip of H2O water, something He would need again and again as His journey and His life went on. But He offered an unlimited supply of spirit-filling water, something that would flow forever and never run dry.

    I don't see anywhere in the storytelling where Jesus got something to drink. When His disciples get back, they wonder if He'd eaten or had anything to drink already - "My food is doing the will of My Father" (4:34ff). The woman left her jar beside the well and went to tell everyone about the Messiah, but it never says she got Him water.

    Was He still thirsty? I'm not sure - but I've got one nagging question beyond the physical need: Did Jesus talk to the woman because of her need, or because of His?
    Wednesday, January 21, 2004
    As I read back through posts of the past few months, I find that I've been remiss. I've left out so much of my life by not mentioning more how much my wife means to me. She takes so much of the burden - being married to me is probably enough, but she seems to enjoy it (most of the time). We share the work, but I find myself marvelling at how much she does to make sure we're surviving. People talk about "deserving" each other - I don't deserve the gracious gift from God that is my lovely wife, and she's not been nearly so bad as to "deserve" what comes with having me and my dirty clothes around the house.

    But we manage. Most of the time, she "gets" me - she understands when no one else does, and she sees when even I'm blind to the obvious. She encourages me more than she knows - and when I disappoint her, it's like making nature cry.

    I just feel so incredibly blessed to be able to share life with my best friend, knowing that I've got room to make mistakes and room to succeed.

    There are certain things in life that trigger an onset of "writer's block" - for me, it's usually times of brain-drain, news of tragedy, politics and political campaigns, and down times filled with the blah's. This week, I've experienced a bit of all of that, except maybe the blah's, and I just want to keep writing and working on something meaningful so I don't stop altogether. Not that anyone would miss it :) - but it's very cathartic for me to be able to type and get my thoughts & feelings down onscreen.

    What's on my mind lately? Reading and writing. I haven't been able to get into a book in a few months now. Nothing's holding my attention past chapter two. I read the Bible, but even there I tend to get lost in thought, not reading huge chunks of scripture but trying to let one passage or paragraph wash over me. The Bible is much more of a meditative tool for me right now, not so much a book for study. That's a minor concern, since I'm teaching Sunday mornings and really need to dig a little deeper at times. It's still full of life, still full of wonder, still full of more questions than answers for me. But I think it's all wrapped up together, not being able to read, not being drawn into some books and being drawn in too far in others. Weird.

    So, I've got three or four books right now that are trying to work their way to the top of the pile. And I'm reading more Bible than anything else, trying to see beyond the words, digging a little for what God's really saying and not just what I want to hear or think I should be looking for.

    On the writing front... well, I write. I wrote a novel in November - well, I started a novel, and it died in three days. I got somewhere around 8,000 words, and it croaked. That's rough work, and I think I discovered something - I can write for me, and I might be able to write something that'll mean something to others, but if it's not "for me" in the end, it'll stink. I didn't start the novel-in-a-month "for me", but "for others". I don't know if that's a selfish tendency or not - just a thing. Even here, I write this post more for me than for anyone on the list. Remember, trying to stem the tide of writer's block - just keep typing.

    Thanks for reading, even if it's not "for you"... Anyone else reading anything writing? Writing anything worth reading?
    I can quote all kinds of statistics about how the family is falling apart, how it's taking a hit from enemy forces trying to destroy its sanctity, how Britney Spears has no idea how belittling her pseudo-marriage was to the world-at-large. But when something happens to a friend... well, it's personal.

    A friend wrote yesterday to say that his wife had left him. Three kids, ministry, thirteen years - and walking out the door. Weekend after Christmas, building since April, but a problem going on much much longer. I haven't been close to this friend in a long time - but we've got history, I guess, buddies since high school. This is the first of our friends to go this direction, so in the sense we've been lucky. But... dang.

    I told my wife about it. She's "still reeling" this morning, having that same dropjaw reaction that I did. I told her I loved her. She said, "I know." There's just something so devastating about a family being thrown aside. I've got cousins who've gotten divorced, remarried, split custody - but we haven't been real close to any of them. This one just hurts by its proximity.

    I want to blame someone. But the more I think, the more I know that's not going to help. She needs to grow up, get with the program, smell the roses and the morning coffee - but there's not much room for grace in the midst of the junk that's been building up. I pray for forgiveness, for mercy, and for conviction to cut to and through the bones and the hardness of heart - but I leave that to God's hand. I don't even know them that well anymore - who am I to stand in judgment over them. I have no idea... but I want to see restoration so much it hurts.
    Tuesday, January 20, 2004
    Men's Ministry meeting at our home tonite. Chili's been cooking for seven hours. Just about ripe around here.
    Monday, January 19, 2004
    I've been shameless ripping off the FridayFive idea and publishing a TuesdayThree set of questions to our 1J13 email list for some time now. This week, I'd like to crosspost them here, too - a trial run, seeing if anyone else wants to participate, etc.

    Feel free to copy/paste/answer these at your own blog/website. All I ask is that you leave a link in the comments where I can go to laugh at marvel at your intelligence. Or you can answer fully within the comments window. I'll post my responses here later as an update, and I look forward to reading responses from anyone else with too much free time who decides hey-what-the-heck-I'll-play-along.

    1) what is one WORD you think could be dropped from our vocabulary?
    2) what is one COMMERCIAL you never want to see again on television?
    3) what is one SONG you wish would vanish from all music collections, never to be played again?

    Update 01/20 - thanks for the responses - here are my ramblings:
    1) what is one WORD you think could be dropped from our vocabulary?
    POWERFUL - it's powerless to describe anything to me; I'm looking for MEANINGFUL to replace it
    ** honorable mention: POSTMODERN - everyone has different definitions, rendering it worthless in conversation
    2) what is one COMMERCIAL you never want to see again on television?
    there's an informercial for some shoe pad that's just cheesy - the shot is of a shoe shop kind of floor, but they're really in front of a green screen (shadows don't bend with contours of benches, etc) - aarrgghh
    3) what is one SONG you wish would vanish from all music collections, never to be played again?
    FRIENDS by Michael W. Smith


    If there is a group of words that are overused in our vocabulary, this one is in the mix. "Love" is overused - we love each other, we love ice cream, we love sunny days. You can probably think of others. For me, it's powerful. It's become powerless to me, lacking in real meaning or descriptive power.

    Every church gathering is described as powerful, looking ahead to the next one - "we're excited and expecting a powerful time in the Lord" - and in giving some substance to the previous times - "wasn't that a powerful time last week?" We describe prayer times as powerful, worship times as powerful, conferences and engagements as powerful. It's overuse, to me, has taken away the fullness of that power that we're ascribing to an experience. Everything can't be equally powerful...

    On the other hand, what if it wasn't powerful for me? Did I miss something? Probably - but if it's always powerful and I rarely exerience powerful, something's missing somewhere. Or worse, in expecting something powerful next time, do we blame God if it doesn't live up to some prescribed expectation? Can I get off the boat if I don't have the powerful time that was promised in all the advertising?

    Right now, when I hear that word, (after I cringe inwardly) I mentally substitute MEANINGFUL. I want to be a part of something meaningful, something transforming, something that makes a difference and an impact on me and the world around me.

    Now, that would be powerful.
    CNN.com - Memorials, volunteerism mark King's 75th birthday - Jan. 19, 2004

    It's a Monday holiday. I've just gotten settled into my cubicle, plugged my laptop into the network, and downloaded 111 new emails I didn't bother to look at over the weekend. Of those emails, a majority of the non-spam pieces were from the Christian_Postmoderns email list. I don't foresee any real time today to catch up on the group's weekend conversation, but maybe lunchtime.

    My wife and kids are at home enjoying a little extra sleeping time, a little extra cartoon time, a little extra video game time on their holiday out of school. They've got a doctor's appointment, and later the pest control is going to give the house a quarterly once over. I'll work until 5:15p or so, head home to play with the rugrats and give my wife a mini-breather from a day full of kids, and we'll head to bed. Tomorrow will be more "normal" - no holiday, and hopefully not 111 inbox messages.

    Life goes on. The holiday is a day off, maybe with time to reflect, maybe not. Things change, while other things remain unchanged. Things move, while other things, and people, remain unmoved. King, just one man leading other men and women, was a catalyst for change. And he was an obstacle to the status quo. Thirty-six years after his assasination, change is still taking place - and resistance is still holding fast in too many places, too. As my white family goes about its business today, I'm glad that we live in a colorful community; that we're part of a speckled church family; that we're not isolated from people or ideas or cultures that are different; that we're reminded every day that we're more the same than not, and more in this together than opposed.

    Happy birthday, sir.
    SI.com - Panthers stun Eagles, head to Super Bowl - Monday January 19, 2004 2:50AM

    The Panther colors stay up, as the bandwagon rolls along...
    Sunday, January 18, 2004
    Touchstone Magazine - Mere Comments

    If C.S. Lewis had a blog.....
    CNN.com - Despair Inc. the brand for cynics - Jan. 17, 2004

    I "discovered" this company a couple of years ago. I wish I could hang up their 2004 calendar at the office - so true, but I'd be so busted.

    My Favorite Demotivator: "CLUELESSNESS: There are no stupid questions, but there are a LOT of inquisitive idiots."
    Saturday, January 17, 2004
    For a Saturday, I sure do have too many rambling thoughts going on in here:

  • Who Would Jesus Elect? - I surfed through this post to several articles beyond, and I just can't get past my gut feeling that Jesus wouldn't care beyond the whole sovereignty of God issue.

  • "Slam" on the Emerging Church - After reading the posts linked and the comments made, I think folks made a prette decent assessment of some of the problems. My only concern is the number of people writing off the new things without diving into them - it's all still in process, and "progress" will be hard to define in ways that have been meaningful up to now. Instead of passing judgment on a work-in-progress, why can't more people get involved in the deconstruction/reconstruction that's going on?

  • "Passion" and the Sales Pitch - If anything's pulling me in conflicting ways right now, it's this set of posts/comments. If the story is any good, if the film is any good, then the "evangelism" might take care of itself without the christian culture saturating everything with marketing/media packages.

    Well - enough thinking. I'm going to just watch college basketball - I'd rather yell at the TV and the refs anyway.
  • Friday, January 16, 2004
    Rapture Letters

    ... slightly perturbed that this site's not at all fictitious...
    The Holy Observer: Frightened Black Family Flees Pomo Church

    ... slightly perturbed that this story's probably fictitious...
    Friday Five:

    1. What does it say in the signature line of your emails?
    I usually tag everything with "peace - rick". At work, all our emails have contact information and the "if this has been sent in error..." disclaimer.

    2. Did you have a senior quote in your high school yearbook? What was it? If you haven't graduated yet, what would you like your quote to be?
    The only thing I can remember is that a bunch of us inserted "ploys" as an accomplishment: "Math Team 9,10; Newspaper 9,10,11; Ploys 9,10,11,12"

    3. If you had vanity plates on your car, what would they read? If you already have them, what do they say?

    4. Have you received any gifts with messages engraved upon them? What did the inscription say?
    None that I can remember. My watch says "water resistant" - does that count?

    5. What would you like your epitaph to be?
    "So long, and thanks for all the fish"
    Thursday, January 15, 2004
    You never know how much you need or use something until it's gone:
    CNN.com - How to tell if your cow is cranky - Jan. 15, 2004

    I can think of way too many funny lines to go with this headline....
    Wednesday, January 14, 2004
    Just got word that my RSS feed is down (thanks, Doug). Don't know how long - might've been the re-work on the site this week, maybe longer. Aargh.
    CNN.com - Gibson 'Passion' to open on 2,000 screens - Jan. 14, 2004

    Bring it on.
    I've got some sort of backwards cold thing going on here. I had the body aches Sunday and Monday, and now I've got congestion, a runny nose, cough - isn't that backwards? Weird.

    I need to make a list of things to do today, so I thought I'd do it here. These are home/family things, but I'll be busy enough at work, too:I'll probably add a couple more, strike them out as I get them done. Not alot, but I really don't want to get behind on any of the tasks at hand.
    Tuesday, January 13, 2004
    Made some changes here at 1J13 Central. I wanted to keep my reading list this year on the blog, and it seemed simpler in style to make a column on the right to match the one on the left, and then it made sense to move some of the scroll-down stuff over to the righthand column, too. So my books and my blog links will show up on the right, and everything else will appear on the left. Also, I'm toying with posting reviews of the books, maybe listing them with one-to-five stars or something in the list to the right. I'll see if it looks good without having to widen that column too much.

    Also, the Panther motif will stay up until they lose - which will probably be this weekend to the Eagles, but hey, one can dream. Or if they win the Super Bowl (again, one can dream), it'll stay up an appropriate celebratory time before being replaced by the Gamecock garnet and black - woo hoo.
    Another inbox challenge from the Daily Dig @ Bruderhof.com today:

    Spiritual Education
    Johann Christoph Arnold

    What about our children's spiritual education? 9/11 should have taught us that we live in frightening times. The more I think about it, the more I feel that as parents and educators, our main task is to equip our children for such times. This means not only educating them physically and mentally. It means teaching them to listen to their consciences in the midst of mass hysteria. It means helping them to find courage when others are cowering. It means inspiring them to hold on to faith when everyone around them has lost it. It means preparing them to make sacrifices, rather than save their own skin.

    What will your child need more as an adult--high grades and a prestigious degree, or selflessness and courage?
    [© 2003 Bruderhof Communities]

    One of the things that is definitely lacking in our culture is an intentionality towards teaching & training our children. I just got off the phone with Pastor, talking about filling a vacancy in our church's children's director position. It's hard enough to get people deeply committed to children - you'd think it would be easier for parents to be deeply committed to their on children's growth as human beings and as christians.

    But children more often than not are a reflection of their parents' values, desires, misconceptions. One school is trying to implement a "silence policy" to cut down on unruly and excessive/loud talking - and the parents are up in arms, loudly yelling at each other and the principal & school officials at a meeting last night. Just one example of many - like parents "coaching" from the stands and berating the referees, or pushing kids too hard to excel and then breaking their spirits with overwork and overstress.

    Just rambling on and on... and praying I don't fall into the trap.
    Monday, January 12, 2004
    Look After One Another

    Listen to me now: stand together in peace. Look after one another, and show concern for another's needs. By eating too much, some of you have brought sickness on your bodies and ruined them, while the limbs of others, who have nothing to eat, waste away for lack of food. And you who have become old in spirit: you are already dying. Your soft living and constant doubts have brought you to this point. You are enervated by the affairs of daily life; you have fallen into lethargy; you are like old men who have given up hope of regaining strength and expect nothing but to fall asleep. But don't give up hope. Awake and repent, and you will all be quite new again.
    [from the Daily Dig, 01/12/2004, http://bruderhof.com/us/Subscribe.htm?source=DailyDig]

    Ouch. Yes, I'm a big guy, and I've eaten my share, so the physical challenge is very real. But that next line, that we who've been in the faith for a long while have fallen into a trap of "soft living and constant doubts", paying closer attention to the "affairs of daily life". There is such a hope in this: "Awake and repent, and you will all be quite new again."

    Who doesn't want new strength? new vision? new mercies every morning? Who doesn't want to throw away the old mindsets? the old worthless things? No matter how comfortable, the worthless things won't get us any closer to the goal of Christ formed in us. "Awake and repent" - we need to wake up and smell the coffee, repent and enjoy the newness that we've left behind.

    How do I know this is speaking to me? I've asked myself: what determines the course of my days? And I answer: my daytimer, my kids' school schedules, basketball practice, tumbling class, bedtime routines, morning routines, half-hour commutes, etc etc etc. In the midst of all that, I look for time with God, and He's always there, much more faithful than me. But what if I lived there, in the kingdom, more constantly in His presence, and then tried to find time for this day's schedule from withing my time with Him - instead of the other way around?
    Another Monday. Another week. It was pretty restful over the weekend - but I had a nutty day yesterday. I didn't sleep worth anything Saturday night, and spent yesterday in a physical fog, just feeling sleepy and lousy all over. Slept better last night, but still dealing with the body aches, so I'm working from the kitchen table at home - woo hoo. It's not bad - nothing on daytime tv, so you get a good bit of tedious work done, stuff you can do alone without distraction, interruption or meetings. I just hope we can get our stuff together tonight to get the kids in bed on time, get us big kid adults to bed a little early again, and wake up tomorrow ready to go out into the world, instead of feeling like folding it all and crawling back under the covers.

    I'll post more later. My son is coming up with a list of 100 things for the 100th day of school. Cool project. I told him to pick ten favorite shows and then pick ten favorite episodes. He's a Nicktoon-geek - proudly knows all the episode names, plots, etc, so this is right up his alley. Something geeky? Here? Yeah - might be a little different, huh?
    Dean Criticizes Bush for Faith-Based Stem-cell Decision -- Beliefnet.com

    After making his own decision in Vermont allowing homosexual unions based on his "faith beliefs", this criticism appears to be a might bit h.y.p.o.c.r.i.t.i.c.a.l. you think?
    Saturday, January 10, 2004
    SI.com - Panthers stun Rams 29-23 in double overtime - Saturday January 10, 2004 10:47PM

    Looks like I can stay on the bandwagon another week. Woo hoo.
    Whew. I feel much better today, thanks. T-boy's team won the game last night, 26-12. They're 4-0 at the halfway point of the season - woo hoo. And we had a fun time with friends last night. All that and a great night's sleep, and I feel pretty good this morning. Going to be busy, though. We've got a 6-yr-old birthday party at 2pm at Chuck E Cheese's. I've got to spend time working on tomorrow morning's Bible study - we're going to look at HUMILITY (imagine that) for the rest of January, and I found some great articles/resources at Discipleship Journal's website. And of course, football and basketball galore.

    Right now, I'm on a quest: what does "humility" mean to "the world"? What does it mean to be humble outside of a christian context? All of my references for being humble come from scripture or christian relationships. Out in "the real world", what does Humble look like?
    Friday, January 09, 2004
    I feel like crap... two hours to go, then a thirty minute commute to the gym for T's ballgame, then an evening of fun and frivolity. Not feeling very fun and frivolous right now, but hopefully that'll change. Right now, I just feel like crap.

    Am I allowed to say "crap" here?

    UPDATE 4:24pm: Well, not so much like crap anymore. Maybe it's because it's so much closer to quittin' time? Once I get out into the chilly air, drive the long route to the gym, I should be pretty much over the headache. That, and another dose of sinus/headache medicine, woo hoo.
    Thanks for the comment to the last post on "integrity", Jon:I was going to post this in the comments' box, but it's long enough to be a post/follow-up, so here goes:Hmmm... I typed all that into the comments box and then cut/paste here. I don't know why I tend to go all lowercase in the comments box. Screwy.
    Where's the integrity?

    Last year, Sammy Sosa was suspended for using a corked bat. In getting caught, his integrity was shot, wasn't it? How long had he actually been using the bat? Was it really a "mistake", or was this just the first time the bad broke and everyone could see? If he made this "mistake" now, had he done it before? How many hits/homers had come from the hot bat? People gave him the benefit of any doubt, and he served his time. I don't think there will be lingering effects beyond some loony hecklers at away games, but still...

    Also last year, Kobe Bryant was charged with rape. He admitted to the stupidity of adultery, and denied the greater charges forcing himself on the young lady. But where's the integrity? Is this the first time he cheated, or just the first time it got messed up and he got caught? What is his wife supposed to think? What are the fans of this role model supposed to think? Convicted or not, his reputation is tarnished and once again, integrity gets the boot.

    Now there's Pete Rose, finally admitting to betting on baseball. The only people really up in arms about this are the sports writers who cover the teams/athletes. Rose was known for playing hard, not for his integrity and model citizenship. I'm not knocking him, just saying that he was a hustler on the field, and evidently with the bookies, too. But there's no remorse beyond what's necessary to sell his new book. He's still trying to spin it in the best light for himself, no one else. Even though he claims never to have bet against his team, that leaves open the inferrence that he did in fact bet on his own teams - and a slew of downstream questions open up as to how that would effect the now-less-than-honest results of real games.

    If our "heroes" are such losers when it comes to integrity, what about us? If they're a reflection of the ideal, what about us? If anything, this says to me that we're much more selfish and base than we care to admit. And God is so much more merciful than we care to give credit for...
    The weather outside is nuts, and I'm blaming the weather guys here in town. It does me absolutely no good to have snow on Friday nights or Saturady mornings - that's about 24 hrs too late to be of any real stay-home-from-work benefit to me. So right now, it's just cold and rainy. Later on it's supposed to switch to snow and we might get a "dusting of flurries" but it won't be that bad - and I won't get a snow day. If anything, bad weather would make us have to stay at home tomorrow - something we were mostly planning on anyway, dang it.

    On top of that, I've got a headache and I feel lousy. My hands are chilled and my head feels warm, though I'm probably not running a fever. I could lay down on a nice cool pillow and sleep, if only I didn't have a conference call in about five minutes, and if I could find a couch with a nice cool pillow somewhere here at work. We've got a ballgame tonite, and after that friends are coming over to eat soup, play games and wrestle kids.

    So it's a full day - just wish it had snowed already. I could already be out on that nice cool pillow in our bedroom, instead of in my cubicle feeling blaah. Other than that though, life's good.
    Thursday, January 08, 2004
    washingtonpost.com: Dean Says Faith Swayed Decision on Gay Unions

    I don't like politics, and I don't like voting, and this is one of the reasons why. The folks who agree feel somehow justified since a governor has now made the connection, and anyone disagreeing will yell a whole lot more "he's wrong!" than have anything constructive to the conversation. Anyone disagreeing here but still planning on voting for him as the best chance for dems in the '04 election will have to look the other way on this one. Nothing here moves us towards some form of real God-honoring, loving and just resolution.

    All that to say: the only reason for popping this out is to make yourself look good to voters. A simple "I felt it was the right thing to do" would've done the same thing; but bringing in "God told me so" whacks it up a few notches, doesn't it?
    I dreamt alot last night. No nightmares, no evil, no sinful stuff - just life. I dreamt I was at basketball practice with my son, at work, at church with friends, at home with family. I had dreams about life. This late in the day, far removed time-wise from the dreams themselves, I don't remember much. But I do remember... just living.

    When I lay down at night, I usually fall asleep pretty quickly. There's not alot of reflective time between lights out and snoring beginning. I've preached that there's a point in everyone's day when what you've done comes back to the front of your mind, where the deep dark life questions won't go away - and that time is usually right before you go to sleep. And yet, for me, I fall asleep to quickly to effectively deal with some of that stuff.

    I don't know why I'm writing about this, except to say that as I've gone through my day today, I'm strangely comforted by the dreams I had last night. It's like my conscience rose up and said, "this is what you're dealing with... nothing huge or cataclysmic, just getting life right, living it in the kingdom, in God's grace... just keep growing, keep learning, keep allowing transformation in obedience... He is faithful... daily."

    Maybe I'm reading too much into it, but there's an encouragement in there for me today. Things are going well, and of course could be going better. But all in all, He is faithful, and He's paying attention to "real life".
    Wednesday, January 07, 2004
    I've gotten alot of traffic through a recent post on humility. My basic thought was this: if you think you've got it, you probably just lost it.

    Here's where pride comes in, taking our eyes off God and onto ourselves. Mark quotes C.S. Lewis: "...it was through Pride that the devil became the devil: Pride leads to every other vice: it is the complete anti-God state of mind." That's where I was going with that train of thought. Pride is so sneaky, so disrupting, so deceptive.

    Someone pointed out something to me a few years ago. In Ephesians 6, where Paul is describing The Armor of God, there are all kinds of pieces for protection and battle, but there's nothing protecting the back. Why would the Lord send us out to battle with naked backs?

    He doesn't - Isaiah 52:12 says, "But you will not leave in haste or go in flight; for the LORD will go before you, the God of Israel will be your rear guard." If God's protecting our backs, and is also in fact going before us, I'd consider that pretty well covered. But if pride comes in, and we begin to move without God, then even if I somehow have all of the armor in place by force of my own will, I'm still wide open from behind. Like the guy wandering down the hospital hall with his gown swinging wide open, there's a draft back there, and it ain't pretty.

    We don't "lose humility" by realizing how humble we are, but there's a real possibility of pride coming before our fall whenever we take our eyes off of Him and begin to look at how pretty we think we are... especially in a hospital gown.
    Worship Leader - 2003 Praise Awards

    Shouldn't God be the only judge here? At least, have a panel of Three: Father, Son & Holy Spirit? American Praise Idol?

    [linked thru RelevantMag/Slices]
    What is the gospel?

    One of Jesus' first messages is "Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand" (Matt 4:17). Easy enough, except that we've tended to flow from one end of that sentence to the other, living in extremes instead of allowing the whole thing to influence our message. Either we focus too much on repent, getting all judgmental and legalistic; or we focus too much on it's here for you, leaving behind the work of repentance and dying to self.

    As I look at "evangelism" and the very real need/desire to share Jesus with other people, I just don't know what to do with that message. I mean, I do - but I don't, you know? The blanket message would be something like:I feel like there's got to be more of a focus on right now, not saved for some life in heaven years down the road. Maybe that's where we've missed it - looking so forward to heaven that we're still lost on earth.

    But that doesn't fit as easily into the evangelism mantras of today. "God's got a plan and purpose for your life" - who cares? You don't have to trust Him in order to be used by Him (Pharoah, Ex. 4:21, and other passages; Jonah; Judas; etc). And it's got to be more than just avoiding hellfire punishment; and more than success here on earth.

    "Repent, and live in the kingdom at hand." That takes discipleship - showing others from our example what the kingdom life is all about. Living in humility and courage, lifting others up beyond ourselves. That's the gospel - right?
    Tuesday, January 06, 2004
    Everyone else is in bed right now, and I'm still awake, writing. Most of the time, when I find myself "still up" and this awake, it's because I've been tweaked by a good story on Tv or something I've read. And most of what I see or hear or read that has any chance of moving me these days is about relationships.

    Parents and children. Husbands and wives. Friends. So much of who we are and what we're about is wrapped up in the people we've both chosen and been given to share our lives.

    Real humility is so thankful for people.
    MTV.com - News -Natalie Portman Calls 'Episode III' Showdown 'Pretty Sick'

    That's dope. That's phat.
    It's finally getting chilly around here. Don't get me wrong - I like living in South Carolina. The winters aren't too bad, and the summers aren't too hot. Humidity is often the worst thing to deal with, but at least I can get to the ocean within a couple of hours, or to the mountains within a couple of hours. For the two months or so it's really really hot in the summer, we usually get a couple of months of fairly cold 20/50F weather in the winter.

    But this past week or so since Christmas has been nuts. Highs in the 70s and lows in the 40s. That's just not right. So the entrance of a cold front is much appreciated, at least by me. Right now, it's 45F and only climbing to around 55F before tomorrow's low of 25F. Sweet. Now I can turn the A/C off in the house.

    I put up a new color scheme, at least until the Panthers win the Super Bowl. Then I'll probably keep the blues and replace the logo with a winter scene, snow falling, maybe our kids in the snow from last year. I really enjoy the chill in the air, and this space will probably reflect that... at least until the Gamecocks win the SEC and the NCAAs later this year.
    What if humility is a barometer? From comments here and from what I've seen/understood, you never really 'have' humility. As soon as you realize you have it, you don't. You can only know for sure that you don't have it, because if you had it, you wouldn't notice...
    Monday, January 05, 2004
    A Small Victory: "monday creeps up my shoulder like a huge spider with evil eyes which I smash with fist only to leave a streak mark on the sleeve of my new shirt"

    At least I'm not alone... Back to work for me this morning, too.
    Sunday, January 04, 2004
    Just got home from our normal Sunday schedule. Dinner at mom & dad's was good, and now I've got an hour or so before I have to be at Pastor's house for a staff meeting.

    About halfway through this morning's worship... I got ticked off at God. Is that ok?

    I wrote yesterday that I sensed a theme of "humility" for this new year, that 2004 would at least begin with meditation on what it means to be truly humble, to see people through eyes of humility, to look for humble attitudes in those around me. But I thought it was rather rude to TEST ME on it this early in the game. As I looked around, I saw things that made me look down on people. And I did it all morning - until it smacked me back and I realized how UN-humble I had been in my own heart.

    No one else noticed it, I'm sure. Probably too self-centered in their own thoughts as I'd been in mine. And even that sentence shows how far I probably have to go. It's more than being arrogant or looking down on people who might be "lesser" in some way. It's just an attitude I recognized this morning that somehow I was "above" - not better or necessarily removed from their positions, just "above" in a superior sort of way. Even an empathetic sounding "I know what you're talking about" was so condescending, so demeaning.

    How dare God test me on this. I don't think I'm ready to "be humble" yet. Mark commented: "You never really get there. You can only move in its direction." This morning I found out that I'm not heading in that direction. Probably not on the same highway. At least, haven't found the right onramp yet.
    Saturday, January 03, 2004

    If there's going to be a "theme" to 2004 for me, it's "humility" - mostly from Romans 12:3, "For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the measure of faith God has given you."

    I can't tell you how many bible studies I've led and been led through on Rom 12:1-2 (don't be conformed, but be transformed"), and even on Rom 12:4ff ("all members of one body"). But this one verse on humility, just thinking properly of yourself if you're thinking of yourself at all - that's nuts. And so far, everything I'm putting my hands on to read is pointing towards humility. So I'm just looking to learn fresh and new what true humility looks like.

    Not looking for a humble button or anything... don't know if I could wear it, anyway.
    CNN.com - Crocodile hunter escapes charges - Jan. 3, 2004

    "Hey, mate - my pap dangled me over the open jaws of a croc before the doc spanked my behind. Oy!"
    Friday, January 02, 2004
    Did I say anywhere that I wanted to take it easy and re-prioritize in 2004? Please say I said something like, "I'm going to say no and get involved in fewer things next year" - or something like that.

    No? Oh well.

    I've started two "new" books already. For the ZBA book reading list, we're reading Thomas A' Kempis' IMITATION OF CHRIST - fairly meaty one there, huh? And for the NKOC list, we're reading another of McLaren's books, MORE READY THAN YOU REALIZE. I haven't read IMITATION before, and I'm looking forward to the discussion. I read MRTYR when it first came out, and I'm curious how it'll go over in the NKOC group - "evangelism" isn't something you talk about much in the philosphical contexts of "postmodern christianity."

    Also on the not-slacking-off-now list, we're going to meet as a pastoral staff Sunday afternoon to discuss future changes and direction at CWO. And I'm going to spend time tonight and tomorrow deciding what the next series will be for the Sunday morning LifeTRAINING study time. Probably get some help from my sweetie and pastor and his wife tonight, while we're over at their house playing HEAR ME OUT.

    Tomorrow, we'll take down the Christmas tree, finish the laundry, and have the 'rents over for the playoff games. Sunday is Sunday, full schedule and then some. And Monday - back to work. Maybe I can rest & take it easy next year ...?
    Thursday, January 01, 2004
    First day of the year. Time for a "resolution" or two. I don't like to make promises that are almost intended to be broken, but I do appreciate setting goals. So here's what I'm shooting for in 2004:

  • Finishing more books than I start. I tried to finish a book per week last year, and that fizzled out before spring hit stride. Why did I have all those unfinished books? They weren't worth reading the first time, and I struggled to get through some of them to reach some "resolution" to finish. This year, I'll hit some of the ones I still have unfinished around the house and office. I'll also be a better shopper, trying to to buy anything I couldn't see myself finishing. I'll post the 2004 reading list somewhere around here.

  • Read Chambers' My Utmost For His Highest. If you've never read it, you wouldn't understand. Just enough each day to tear down what you thought you knew, and rebuild you into what God desires.

    That's it. Just two. Check me on it later.
    Happy New Year, y'all.

    Pretty uneventful, but fun, evening last night. We let the kids stay up and watch Nickelodeon's Pick Boy special - woo hoo - while we watched the bowl games downstairs. I got the HDTV stuff hooked up just in time for the big games, and we're expecting the 'rents over this afternoon around 1:00p with chips and dips and cheeseballs.

    My most memorable New Year's? I think it was the one before our son was born - maybe earlier than that. We were supposed to meet my wife's friend and her husband (were they married yet? don't remember) at the airport, picking them up and driving them across town to her dad's house. The plane kept getting delayed - so we spent most of New Year's waiting in the terminal - yee ha. When they finally landed, we drove across town - and stopped before going around the big downtown celebration to watch the fireworks. Huge, thick fog that night - ever seen fireworks in the fog? Way cool. Not a bad New Year's, since I always enjoy waiting around airports with my wife, and the fog explosions were pretty awesome.

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