Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Dan in Old Country

Watched a couple of movies with the down time over the holidays. The first was Dan in Real Life with The Office's Steve Correll.I hate to refer to this as a romantic comedy since the phrase conjures up all kinds of cheesy schmaltzy cliche imagery; nevertheless, that is what it is. I really enjoyed it. I would call it a "smart romantic comedy." It wasn't predictable. The story was strong and the acting was A+.

Correll successfully got out from under his Michael Scott character and came off as a simple likable "guy next door," much the same way Will Ferrell did in Stranger than Fiction (highly recommend). He's a strong and compelling "every man."

The great Dianne Wiest played his mom & the strong John Mahoney played his dad. Great support by Juliette Binoche and Dane Cook plus the actresses who played Correll's daughters.

Dan in Real Life is well worth the DVD rental.

Watched No Country for Old Men last night. I am a big fan of the Coen brothers movies (Hudsucker Proxy, Raising Arizona, Fargo, O Brother Where art Thou?) but this one didn't do it for me.

The acting was phenomenal. Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin, Woody Harrelson and Jarvier Bardem were flawlessly believable. The plot was interesting and unpredictable. The title was the crux of the movie but I didn't need all the darkness of 80% of the movie to make its point. More insight into Tommy Lee's character would have been welcome.

I will blame some of my lack of want for this movie on the state of our country right now. With the economy in the outhouse and real stories of Santa showing up at a house, shooting a little girl and burning down the house, it's harder for me to enjoy a movie like this or even The Dark Knight. I simply am finding little interest in watching things that parallel the dark underbelly of our culture right now. So perhaps in better times I might have enjoyed this movie more.

Take a pass on No Country for Old Men.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008


Just got an email from my friend at the Kokomo Rescue Mission: their pipes burst in their warehouse and is flooding the area where the food is kept. Don't know if it's under control or they need help--their number is 765.456.3838. I'm sure prayer is appreciated.

A friend of mine in Oakbrook's singles ministry gave a ride home to a single mom & her kids the other day. He learned they were new in town and in need. My friend asked some of the singles ministry peeps and Sandra asked our small group peeps to do what they could. We didn't solve all of their problems but we definitely gave a decent sized cushion of food, household supplies and even some cash and gift cards.

I'm glad my friend was paying attention and gave us the opportunity to help. Let us all be on the lookout for the next opportunity.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Vintage Xmas 2008

Just had a fun time playing drums with the OCC Big Band in "Vintage Christmas." Great times.
Check out the pics.

Friday, December 19, 2008

marketing the church

I think this post by Tony Morgan is concise & packed with wisdom. Check it out.

Friday, December 12, 2008

car problems

This isn't a piece, pro or con, on the potential bailout of our Big Three automakers; I'm simply not informed enough about it to play pundit.

But I have found it interesting that as soon as the lending institutions got in trouble, the government was bailing them out quickly and with little fuss. But when the automakers inquired about a bailout, they were not met very warmly at all; at this point it's questionable if they will get anything.

Here's the crux of this post: I'm finding it interesting that (liberal) Michael Moore is fighting for the autoworkers when the (conservative) Republicans don't appear to want to help. I'm not taking a stand here---I just find it highly ironic that so many autoworkers I know in my auto city vote republican and yet the republicans don't seem to care less about this.

The magnitude of the Big Three potentially going toes up seems like it should have the attention of the brightest minds in the country, if not world; I don't have the sense that it does. I hope our political leaders feel the gravity that the Big Three is more than three corporations. It's thousands of families and US communities.

Here's Michael Moore's recent ramble on this situation.

Praying for all involved...

Friday, December 5, 2008

Interesting New TV Show

I know this post's title reads like an oxymoron, but Fox's new "Secret Millionaire" is good reality TV (crikey, another oxymoron!)

So what do Trading Spaces, The Office and Secret Millionaire have in common? They were all hits in Great Britain before coming to US TV and being big hits here.

Here's the premise: Take take away all their expensive stuff, clothes and money. Give them a week's minimum wage and leave them in a financially oppressed area for a week. They must not divulge who they are until the last day. That's when they must give at least $100,000 of their own money away to someone or some people they've met.

What I like about the show is there's no host. You just follow around the millionaires in their week. In that way, it feels less forced, less contrived and less manipulated than say Extreme Home Makeover.

The only thing I didn't like in the two episodes I watched was the cheesy overly dramatic music and freeze frames as the millionaires came clean and told the people who they really were.

The other thing I liked is the authentic eye-opening experiences the rich folk had coupled with the response of the recipients of the large checks. Again, no hosts--just someone being generous with someone in need whom they really got to know.

A lot of these people had given money to charity before, but it's clear it was given from a distance. Here, the close proximity, immersion in the culture and relational connection make a profound difference.

Give it a look.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Racism talk @ Oakbrook

Click here to download the pdf of the manuscript. Click here to see all the local pictures used in the talk.

Again thanks to the Howard Co Historical Society and the writings of professor Allen Safiano and local author Ned Booher that greatly aided my research of this topic.

Here's a great post on the subject by pastor & author Shawn Wood.

Friday, November 21, 2008

My week and prayer

It's been a busy one with lots of meetings. I think between Wed & Thurs alone I had eight meetings. Some one-on-ones and some group meetings. Some were very personal and some were strategic. Some filled me up and some were draining. In some of those meetings I was "just a guy" and in some of them I was "a church leader/elder."

There's really only one thread in common in all of the encounters: them, me, God.

It sounds elementary but I try to keep those three things in mind in every meeting. In every communal gathering there is the probability that they'll unknowingly bring in some junk and that I will unknowingly do the same. And then there's the high probability that God wants to use them to say something to me, and if God has really lost all His senses, he wants to use me to speak into them or to the situation.

And so lately in my attempt to keep my sanity, be effective and come somewhat close to living the life that God wants me to, I have taken to one of my mantra-prayers; little sentences that I say aloud or to myself throughout the day. This one is based on how Jesus answered the question, "What's the most important thing?!"

I pray: "God, help me to love you radically, others unconditionally, and myself appropriately."

I find that if I can live out of that focused prayer, I'm less likely to force my agenda, fail to listen to someone or marginalise them, think I know all the answers, or interact out of a funky view of myself.

Give it a try. Or make up your own mantra-prayer that fits your life.


Monday, November 17, 2008

What is it?

a.) Tea pot for one?

b.) Watering pot for an indoor herb garden?

c.) A neti pot?

It's c. I've had it for a few months now and I'm nutty for neti. Using a neti pot is a way to irrigate your sinuses.

By doing my "daily neti" I've gotten off Claritin. I seem to breathe better and likewise feel better. Here's a handy info page about neti.

And here's a girl demonstrating it on youtube; although she doesn't show putting in the sea salt and she doesn't do it long enough. For hours of bizarre fun just type in "neti pot demonstration" at youtube ;-)

I'm also finding it helps in this season of furnaces & car heaters drying out my nose.

I bought mine here but you can get them locally at the Sunspot Health Food Store. I will admit I initially thought a bit odd, but I'm hooked. Give it a try.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Oh, the things I've heard...

(sigh) I really hate getting into politics in public forums. But, this is my attempt at perhaps quelling some of the misunderstandings that I'm hearing in my neck of the woods. This is not a pro-democrat piece, it's pro-truth and pro-civility. For the record I vote for the person not the party; I voted for republicans & democrats in the last election.

1. "Obama is a Muslim."
False. He's a Christian. Just because his middle name is "Hussein" doesn't make him a Muslim or a terrorist; in the same way that having the last name "Schwartz" doesn't make you Jewish.

2. "I'm scared he's the anti-Christ."
False. Again, he's just a Christian with a weird name. Here's a great article that explains it more in depth than I care to.

3. "He's a socialist/Marxist..." (because he wants to "redistribute wealth.")
False. Since our little country began, we've all been putting our taxes into one pot and the administration in power and our elected officials decide how to spend it. We all put money into the pot & they doll it out--also know as "redistributing." This is just how we roll in the U.S.

3. "He's going to ban guns/hand guns."
Does not appear so. Here are his words:

"I believe in the Second Amendment, and if you are a law-abiding gun owner you have nothing to fear from an Obama administration...Here's what I believe: The Second Amendment is an individual right. . . people have the right to bear arms. But I also believe there is nothing wrong with some common-sense gun safety measures."
Read more here.

4. "He's pro abortion."
Actually he wants to reduce abortions by 95% over the next ten years. (Please don't get into some holy war posting on this subject. This is complex. I know my conviction. I also acknowledge that legislating a non-universal conviction and taking into account a bevy of circumstances is a quagmire.)

5. Parting comment:
I specifically included pictures of Bush and Obama with their families to remind us that politicians aren't robots; they're people with families.

The press, culture and even evangelicals entice us to talk ill of politicians as if they are targets, not people. And if an issue doesn't line up with our theology it gives us license to be malicious. As a person of faith, if I talk or think about anyone in harsh, gossipy, or untrue terms I am not a very good reflection of my Savior.

Jesus could have railed on the Caesars or the system; but he didn't. He paid his taxes too. Focused on the higher calling. And how he was to be used along the way.

So let us focus.
And not be haters.
Peace to you and your family, Barack.
Peace to you and your family, George W.
Peace to us all.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Beatles Concert a Blast!

After MONTHS of preparation, Oakbrook's music team put on a Beatles concert to collect food for an area food bank and to give people an excuse to go to church. And our 1,250 seat auditorium was SOLD OUT!

From the time the church doors opened at 6pm the building was electric. It seemed that nearly all of the 1,250 people were there early to get their general admission seat. The auditorium doors remained close til 6:30, before which, the walk-ways and huge children's hallway swelled with lines of expectant Beatles fans. No unruly Cincinnati Who fans here; everyone in line with good spirits.

And a splendid diversity; grandparents, parents, teenagers. People who saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show and those who didn't know who Ed Sullivan was. This concert on the heals of another election that seems to leave people divided or embittered, found those same diverse people standing next to each other in line. Smiling.

In a time of election, frightening economy, and a year of $4 a gallon gas, 1,200 people came together, smiled together, sang together. Had FUN together.

That sounds simple, but I don't think we know how much we need to have fun until we realise how long its been since we've tasted it. We all drank of it together last night. And it does the soul good to know that in a packed house, we're all together. Just for tonight. Just for 90 minutes. In our splintered world, we were all on the same page for the night.

This is the power of a concert. No discussion, no topic could align all those people. Talk and topic could only quickly divide us. But the power of a concert and the broad range of Beatles fans somehow sent us all home humming the same tunes.

60-somethings in Buicks. 40-somethings in mini vans. 30-somethings in foreign sedans. 20-somethings in Vibes and Grand-ams, teenagers in whatever mom and dad gave them. All humming Hey Jude, Strawberry Fields, or Good Day Sunshine. That is a phenomenon. And we all shared in it.

And it just could be that part of last night's magical spirit was that nearly everyone on stage, backstage, in the booth, greeting, working the Cafe and parking cars, is trying to stumble their way through what it is to follow Christ. And that before we did our pre-show run thru, we split up and prayed over the auditorium.

We knocked ourselves out for months and long Saturdays so perhaps someone who simply likes the Beatles might come and be curious about what happens in this big room on Sunday mornings at 10 am.

And I guess I have to admit for risk of sounding too noble...for all of us, it was pretty darned fun just to be a part of it.

Mike Wise's concert pictures on FaceBook.
Rehearsal pics 1. Pics 2. Pics 3.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Highland Park in the Fall

Click here for some fall pics I took in November in Highland Park.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Fall Desktop Pics

These are two Kokomo Fall shots I've taken recently. The woods is coming in the drive at Oakbrook. The sunrise was shot today driving south on Dixon Rd close to Harvey Hinklemeyers. With the fall colors I've been keeping my camera with me whenever I can.

To download: left click to get the original size 1440 x 900 pic (which is a wide desktop format). Then right click on the large pic and choose "save as" and save to your desktop.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D

Top: My new Nikon 50mm f/1.8 D prime lens.

Bottom: Same lens with Adorama rubber lens hood.

Through the help of a couple pro photographers and the infamous Ken Rockwell website , I purchased this "fast" lens to get better indoor and low light pics without a flash.

Below is a pic of my friend, Tim, without a flash. I like the natural look this lens makes possible. It also has a modest focal area. Notice how his face is in focus while the bass neck & his hands are fuzzy. This was shot with the ISO @ 800. (I had to shoot @ 1600 with the Nikon kit lens and the pics were grainy and lots of blurring if the subject moved at all.)

Below is a pic Slater took of Sandra's Wed night dinner. Again this is natural dining room light, no flash.
Click here for pics that were taken at our Beatles concert rehearsal with low light. Several of the pics were taken by my 13 yr old son, Slater. Others were taken by my friend, Dave Bottomley, and they graciously allowed me to actually take a few ;-)

Instead of me rambling on about photography matters I don't yet fully understand, allow me to send you to this page on Ken Rockwell's site. Also check out this page about low light photography.

This is a prime lens which means it is not telephoto. To frame the shot, physically move closer or farther away. Many professionals are shooting portraits, weddings etc with prime lenses.

It's been less than a week since it arrived in the mail and already I don't know how I lived without it. For $109 it adds a huge amount of versatility to my Nikon D40. By the way, for the D40 crowd, this lens is MANUAL focus; but for the price I don't mind doing the focusing ;-)

I purchased the lens from Adorama on Saturday and it was delivered by Wed.

UPDATE: New lens coming soon from Nikon: 1.4 50mm prime auto focus, compatible w/D40. As of this entry it is not yet available. But will be in my "wish list."

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Truth isn't Relative

I had an interesting conversation at the dinner table with Meg the other evening. Turns out at Kokomo High School they had their own election for president. Meghan said, "Everyone is voting for McCain because Obama is a Muslim."

It took me several minutes to explain to her that Barack Obama, although his name sounds like he may be a Muslim, is a Christian.

It pains me to see how a country like ours with all the potential to be informed, aware and even intelligent, can be otherwise.

This is not a pro-Obama piece. It's a pro-truth piece. It's a piece warning us about the danger of prejudice; warning us to be careful of thinking that every Muslim is dangerous and only Christians are good. Warning us about believing every email or blog post.

I saw a scene from the presidential race that was both a high and low point simultaneously. A lady said to John McCain, "I can't trust Obama...he's an Arab." (low)

McCain shook his head, took back the mic and said that Obama was not an Arab and was a "good man." (high)

It seems there is enough real fear in our world these days economically, globally, militarily. We don't need the fear of misinformation or ignorance.

Peace to McCain. To Obama. To the lady at the rally. To the dull. To the intelligent. To us all.

Sunday, October 26, 2008


Sandra & I just saw this Friday night in Kokomo. It's been playing here for 5 weeks and it was standing room only in the theater; we literally had to scoot in to make room.

In short I thought the movie was powerful. I can't think of a more realistic present day portrayal of marriage in the U.S. The issues were real, relevant and weren't solved in 5 minutes.

I'd heard some questionable comments about a small percentage of the acting, but I didn't find issue with it. No Oscar nominees here, but everyone was believable, realistic and several were strong.

As I thought about the acting afterward, it occurred to me that many of the film's characters were like normal people you'd meet in your own town--not like actors in films. In some small way that seemed more realistic to me.

Not to denigrate the acting in the least, but I think the star is the screenplay. Clearly this was put together by people who understand marriage; behaviors that get it off track, and the real tough struggles of putting one back on track.

It is a Christian film, but faith wasn't pushy and didn't hog the spotlight. Marriage issues and principles were really the focus and faith crept in around them, in poignant realistic ways.

This is a great movie for:
Couples who are in a healthy place.
Couples who are struggling.
Separated spouses.
Divorcees or anyone who wants to learn more about marriage.

The movie's website is full of info including resources couples and organizations can use, including the book that has a starring role in the film. One small group at Oakbrook has already ordered the group curriculum.

This seems to be a movie that is promoting itself. I haven't seen a trailer or commercial for it, but I've heard (and heard of) several strong personal endorsements to see it. After seeing it, I understand why. It's the kind of thing you want others to experience. Just this morning I suggested to someone to take his separated friend to see it.

I can't say I'm a guy who's always into things that have a Christian tie, including this company's prior film; but I found Fireproof to be profoundly powerful and moving. To anyone who says Christians don't compete in the mainstream very well, this film proves otherwise.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

the Ubiquitous Salsa Ringtone

(First of all I'm noticing the ubiquitous use of "ubiquitous" lately, but I digress before I've even started.)

I think it's amusing how many people are using the ol' "Cuban-salsa" ring tone these days---you know, the one that sounds like you just walked into a Mexican cantina?

When I'm out in public and hear the muffled salsa rhythm emanating from a purse or pocket--and then observe the frantic owner grab it to turn it off. The look on their face seems to be surprised or annoyed that the salsa ring tone played. Something like, "What?! How did that get on there?!"

I want to lean over and say, "It probably seemed like a good idea when you were flipping through your ring tones last night in your living room. But it plays a little differently out here in the real world, don't you think?"

Just for the record, I've gone with no ring tone; just the "vibrate" ring mode. So call me often ;-)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blog Overload

Do you too wake up and think, "I can't wait to read what other people are writing about themselves!" No? Me neither. Regardless, we are a blogging bunch.

I went looking for blog data and of course found it...on a blog--so who knows how accurate it is ;-)

It's estimated in April '08 there were 112 MILLION blogs (in English) & approximately 175,000 new ones PER DAY. And to think I can't even keep up with my co-workers' blogs...

When I look at blogs (including mine), there is a mega theme something to this effect: "This is the world according to me. These are my experiences. These are things I like." In other words: "I, me, my." ;-)

And on one hand this is what makes them great--sharing of ideas, seeing into others' phyches, benefiting from other people's wisdom & experience. It's networking without the mess of relationship. And this sharing has great potential.

But as I sense the rapidly growing blogdom, in the context of my life that never has a shortage of irons in the fire, blogs can be tech-noise. So they become one more thing for me to manage...in a life where there's seemingly no end of things to manage.

So I don't have an ending to this post. I like blogs. But I'm somewhat overwhelmed by them. (Honestly, I can't keep up with blogs of my co-workers.) I like sharing but I get annoyed with the narcissism--including my own.

For now, such is life and such is my blog...and if you read it, that's ok---but I think these days I'm writing more for myself than anyone else. (see, there's that "my" again.)


Tuesday, October 14, 2008

White Walls

With 10,0000 miles on my '04 Suzuki Volusia, it was time for new tires. I decided to go with the old school white walls for the more retro look. Reality Motorsports in Marion IN had the best price.

BEFORE: the original blackwalls

Monday, October 13, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Domestic bone of contention: Neither of us wants to grind & brew the coffee in the morning.
Solution: The Cuisinart Grind & Brew!

The old Krups coffee maker finally went toes up so Sandra found this cool gizmo:

You load the beans & water into it at night. Program when you'd like it to grind the beans and start making coffee. Wake up to fresh brewed coffee!!

Another simple pleasure of life ;-)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

White Shoes

I am older now. Not that my ever-graying hair gives me away, nor the fact that my oldest son, Taylor, just turned 22. No, the telltale sign of my age is that I’ve had a pair of white Adidas for over a month now and they are still brilliant white.

My 13 year old son, Slater, looked at them like some kind of modern day miracle and said, “How do you DO that??!!”

And I new exactly what he meant. When I was in middle school, there were few things cooler than new sparkling white Adidas, Pumas, Nikes, or Cons. (That might only be trumped by having a girlfriend. Or imagine having a girlfriend AND new white shoes!)

And here are the words I did not reply to Slater with:

“Slate, it is easy. First, wear them exclusively to those ‘dirty’ places like the office, church, and the mall. And if it’s raining in the morning, put on your old shoes instead. Then of course turn what were your newest shoes into your official 'play shoes,' which means never playing in your new white shoes.”

And that’s when I new I was old...

And I’m so old I can’t bring myself to make them dirty even in the hopes that it could recapture a speck of my youth. But the truth? (lean in) When I look down at my sparkly whites, that middle school version of myself that’s still inside somewhere thinks, “COOL!!”

Friday, October 10, 2008

Simple Pleasures

This morning I decided to see what options were available at the heretofore "too pricey" Starbucks wi-fi. To my surprise Kokomo S-bux is offering ATT internet. Since I'm ATT at home all I had to do was type in my email address, password and VOILA--free internet!!

Another simple pleasure smile ;-)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Latest Talk

Click here for a pdf of my latest talk at Oakbrook.
Or click here to download the podcast.
Check out the pictures from my Brown County bike trip.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Indians Ride Again

The Indian Motorcycle Company is back...again. The legendary American motorcycle is back from the dead.

The company began in 1901 and reached its height in popularity from 1922-1953. Sadly they declared bankruptcy in 1977. They were resurrected from 2001-'03; known as "Gilroy Indians." This latest incarnation finds its home in Kings Mountain North Carolina. (More about Indians)

Sticker Shock:
MSRP on the Chief ranges from $31,000 - $35,500. Dare I say it makes a Harley look like a bargain. As much as I'd love to have an Indian, this price point makes it nothing more than a "when I win the lottery" pipe dream.

Good luck Indian--long may ye ride!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Brown County Bike Run

Wow--just had a GREAT weekend riding bikes & camping with my brother, Jameson, in Brown County IN. (This pic is taken in Brown County State Park.)

Click here for all the pictures.

We loaded our bikes down with all the camping gear they'd hold and made camp at The Last Resort, that was just 2 miles outside of Nashville.

We road into Nashville Sat afternoon & stuffed ourselves with the ridulous biscuits, applebutter & fried chicken of the Nashville House restaurant. Seriously, you can't believe there aren't a bunch of 60-70 year old grandmas in the kitchen making this stuff!

For dinner we drove about 30 miles to Seymour IN. The restaurant wasn't anything special; it was just an excuse to ride some more & say we'd been to John Mellcamp's home town.

We ended the night with a camp fire and a bottle of cabernet that we drank from paper cups that Jameson talked our waitress out of in Seymour.

To his utter dismay, Jameson missed the event of the day Saturday. We were riding through Brown County State park--thru winding roads, up & down. I was behind him as we came upon a sharp right hand switch back turn on a very steep incline.

As I came into the turn I saw a pickup truck coming down the turn. I instinctively (& WRONGLY) let off the gas. On that steep sharp turn, that was enough to cause me & the bike to fall over to my right on the inside of the turn.

I felt the bike going and did my best Chris Farley Beverly Hills Ninja side/backwards summersault off the bike. (Ever see a bear tip over on a tricycle??)

I was up instantly with my cat-like reflexes & the guys from the truck were right there asking if I was alright. They helped me pick up the bike about the time Jameson was returning to the scene of the goofy crime, "What the heck happened?!"

I did notice afterward I had a fairly significant gash on my helmet--that probably would have been more than a detail had I not been wearing it. Helmets are good even though they make for bad hair.

And for the rest of the trip I'd ocassionaly look over & see Jameson's shoulders dancing as he laughed, imagining me tumbling into the grass. Brothers ;-)

I used a duffle bag stuffed with sleeping bag, clothes etc strapped to the passenger seat. It made the most wonderful backrest. I had ZERO back fatigue on the non-stop 2 hour trip down and back.The only two things they would have made the trip significantly more enjoyable would have been a chair & a bed roll. After riding the bike so much, the "plank" of the picnic table wasn't exactly what my backside had in mind. And a little something between my sleeping bag & the ground would have made for a better night's sleep.

Jameson did make some great java Sunday morning. Nothing like a cool autumn morning in the woods, and piping hot joe perking in a pot that looks like it came from the Clampett's kitchen.

Biking & camping in Brown County----definitely something to do again ;-)

Friday, September 26, 2008

Best School Pic Ever

Ok, there's a little bias here---but I LOVE this pic of my beautiful sophomore daughter, Meghan. It's so good it's almost hard to believe it's a "school picture!"

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Ah, she's so "folksy" ;-)

Please enjoy her answer to the question to give one example of McCain pushing for more government regulation in his 26 years of service. Check it out. (It's really short--& cute.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2008


We're in the 2nd week of this campaign at our church. At a blush the book is reminiscent of Making Room for Life or similar to Wide Awake and several others that aren't coming to mind. So as I read 1M2L it's easy for me to think, "Heard that before," or "This isn't that original." BUT...

It's hard. It's really hard to slow down enough to read it, think about it and internalize it.

I confess that a few days I've blown through the reading, more or less, just to get it done. And it's very different to read just to get it read vs. reading to get something out of it. A world of difference actually.

And no, the book isn't the most original thing on the planet and I feel the temptation to get caught up in that dynamic. But I sense my own pride in that response--as if originality is the end game in life. (It's certainly not.)

The book read is simple. Really slowing down enough to engage the book and re-examine my seemingly too-busy life is very difficult. But I will keep slugging away & pushing pride aside. Because what the book is about, is indeed profound and eternal.

So that's me. How's the book going for you?

Sunday, September 21, 2008


We enjoyed a great time at Kokomo's own living history experience. It roughly reflects the time period of 1750-1760 of the French and Indian War.

In a city where people compain "there's nothing to do," Koh-koh-mah seems like a unique event that's not that well known. It's similiar to Lafayette's Feast of the Hunter's Moon, but much more intimate, relaxing and enjoyable.

Even though Koh-koh-mah has a mock battle, there was no historical battle at that location. However it does depict warfare of the time that happened in other parts of Indiana. Lots of great period vendors and craftsman to enjoy.

Here are pictures I took.

Friday, September 19, 2008

simple pleasures

Lately I'm feeling that one of our biggest problems is the failure to see how good we have it. In a few unexciting moments this week I've realized how good some simple things are.

THE GOLF UMBRELLA. Heading off to Qdoba with Sandra the sky opened up. Deluge. Both of walking comfortably under a large golf umbrella was one of life's simple pleasures.

LATE AFTERNOON WASHCLOTH. After driving up to Southbend @ 6am and being at a seminar all day, getting back to the hotel and wiping down my face with a washcloth was a great simple pleasure.

More to come...

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

"Reform" / "Change"

(Eerily strange parallel between a scene in O Brother Where Art Thou? and the current poticial scene...)

PAPPY: Languishing! "Dang" campaign is languishing! We need a shot in na arm! Hear me, boys? In na "dang" ARM! Election held tomorra, that "sonofagun" Stokes would win it in a walk!

JUNIOR: Well he's the reform candidate, Daddy.

(Pappy narrows his eyes at him, wondering what he's getting at.)

JUNIOR: Well people like that reform. Maybe we should get us some.

(Pappy whips off his hat and slaps at Junior with it.)

PAPPY: I'll reform you, you soft-headed "sonofagun!" How we gonna run reform when we're the "dang" incumbent "party"! (He glares around the table.)

Friday, September 12, 2008

Starbucks Scribblings

There’s this guy named Dave. To me, he’s an older guy. Smiley, healthy, spry, energetic, but older. He’s one of those guys who’d hang out in Starbucks and everyone seemed to walk over and talk with him or he’d engage them before they had a chance to launch the first word.

A few months ago he started wearing a black Starbucks apron; not as a fashion statement, but because he started working there. I overheard him tell someone, “Well heck, I was in here so much I figured I might as well get paid for being here!

Dave is a “whistle while you work” guy, literally & metaphorically. Can you remember back when you’d see people who were mysteriously working and happy at the same time? If he’s wiping down tables it’s just an excuse to greet people and make them feel comfortable with his contagious smile and sincere country charm. The kind of guy who makes you feel like he really is genuinely happy to meet you.

As I saw him work the room this morning I thought, “He makes people’s lives better. He adds something to their day. He makes deposits in our withdrawal society.”

There’s something you need to know about Dave: He’s a very good musician. He’s the Indianapolis Indians level of country musician—one step away from "going to the show." He’s a songwriter, singer and band leader. There are radio stations in smaller markets playing his stuff right now.

I don’t really know Dave other than small talk, but it seems like he has that magnetic ingredient that great musicians and great individuals have; humility.

Humility focuses on how everyone else is doing. Humility doesn’t care about where you work, but how you add to the people wherever you are---in an apron, or on a bandstand.

And humility doesn’t make you cooler or less approachable just because you’re a darned good musician. It simply makes you attractive and everyone else a little happier when you’re around.

So today I raise my Grande Pike to Dave. Thanks for the deposit.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Wide Awake -Erwin R. McManus

I'm about 90 pages into this book & find it riveting. He may be one of the most deep and prolific authors of our time. Here's some of my underlining so far:

We who build our lives on Scriptures are at times most in danger when we conclude all we need to know is in one book so we can be ignorant of everything else. Pg 39

People say, “I have to experience it for myself. I have to learn it for myself.” Know what it’s called when you think you have to experience everything before you can actually know better? It’s called stupidity. Pg 50

Eternity isn’t the place where you get all the answers. Eternity is a place where you get all new questions, a place where you will always be learning. God is infinite. How long does it take to get to know everything about an infinite God? Oh, I’d say, about eternity. Pg 55

It may be that your challenge is to not allow your context to justify your underachievement. Pg 67

You either adapt when you face circumstances you cannot control, or you allow them to become the boundaries of your life. Pg 72

Adaptability requires teachability. The ability to change comes from one core characteristic, and that is simply humility. Humility keeps us flexible. It serves as an oil that keeps our hearts open to change and able to adjust. Pg 72

We become dogmatic as a result of fear, not faith…Fear seeks to control; faith seeks to create. Pg 76

Friday, September 5, 2008


This is pronounced "real-tor." Well, that is to say, it is correctly pronounced that way.

We often hear "real-la-tor." That little "la" in the middle does not belong.

"Real" is its own word as in real property or real estate. Therefore one who sells said commodities is a realtor; not a real-la-tor.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

OCC Pics Page

Just put together a way to share Oakbrook pics. Check it out.

Joseph pt 3

Click here for the PDF text from my talk in our 3rd week of our Joseph series.
Or download the podcast.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

instant classic

I'm just into this book & I must say it's A+ stuff.

One of the things I like is the unique format: No section is more than 3 pages and many are just one page. And it's cross referenced. At the end of each tiny section there are links to other similar axioms. I easily found myself hopping around the book. You could say it's a post-modern format---don't have to read it beginning to end, hop around to your own liking.

I won't be surprised if this becomes a leadership classic, and maybe Bill Hybels' best book to date.

Monday, August 25, 2008

plants at dusk

Latest from the Nikon D40. Sandra grows 'em--I shoot 'em.