Saturday, January 29, 2011

SlickPic - new photo-share site

I'm starting to use a new photo-sharing site called SlickPic. It's free. Easy to use. Easy for other people to navigate. (Now if someone just had a program that would move your pics from your old site to the new one...)

So far I just have two albums in my gallery: click here to see what they look like.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Power of Voice Mail

After being out of my office for several days, I set my laptop down and couldn't miss the little blinking red light on my work phone. For some reason, seeing that flashing light always makes me feel like I'm behind on something I don't yet know about.

I sat, hit my extension and then the code. It's from Friday. Cavalierly, "
Hope it wasn't something pressing."

The message began, "
Heavenly Father, you've brought Morgan Young to my mind and heart with a sense of urgency today..."

No longer looking at details in front of me, I'm staring at the phone. The prayer continues. The unidentified caller lifted me and everyone in my family up to God by first and last name. He prayed for me as pastor, teacher, father, husband, friend and counselor.

He went on to pray for God's influence through my life and prayed that God's love would wash over me. After about 2 minutes of praying the man's voice simply said with a smile I could see, "
I love you."

Having spent the last couple days at home with a fever, I toyed with coming in today or not. The little flashing light revealed that coming in was indeed a great idea.

Naturally I saved this message. I played it again as I wrote this and had to take time to wipe emotion out of my eyes.

It's simple and so powerful. Someone taking time to pray for you. Taking time to pray into a cell phone. God speaking generalities through one man that are heard as specific encouragements to another.

This invisible Force that some say doesn't exist, put my name into the heart and mind of a man I haven't seen in months (and before that it had been months). This man decided to not dismiss this chance occurrence of my name popping into his head. Instead he credits it to this invisible God and manifests these thoughts into a phone call.

He could have hung up when I didn't answer, taking it as evidence that it wasn't mean to be; but instead follows through with a benign voice mail--this unassuming vehicle that we use everyday. And there it sits until the blessing is revealed these five days later.

I clicked onto Facebook and messaged who I thought it was and asked if it were he. Turned out he'd been driving when God slammed my name into his head, so he said. He admitted after all these years he'd finally learned to be obedient to what God wanted when He wanted it. What simple yet powerful words.

As I share this story I wonder how many times I've missed a prompting. How many times I've missed an opportunity to bring the holiness of God into the earthly mundane life of someone else. And I am thankful that this somewhat distant friend followed the Wild Goose last Friday, driving in his car.

Lord, help me to hear and obey. Not just when I'm actively praying or in a church service--but wherever I am and throughout all hours of the day. Help me remember that You love to show up and show off in the details, in the otherwise unassuming pockets of our lives. Help me, Father, to hear and then follow through. Oh--and thanks for the voice mail..."

Friday, January 7, 2011

Winner: BEST PIZZA (*)

click image to enlarge

Every year the Kokomo Tribune conducts it's online "Best of Kokomo" contest. Somehow The Brick got nominated and actually annihilated the competition:

The Brick 670
Gabes 366
Pizza King 308
Martino's 248
Tipton's Pizza King 206

(For those not in the know, The Brick is in essence a party we hold in our home where anyone is welcome
click here for the full story.)

I have it on good authority that although we won, we will not be pronounced the winner. When I asked why, it went thusly:

"You're not a business."

"So how did we get on the list then?"

(awkwardly) "Someone nominated you."

(Reading the body language) "And you never imagined this outcome..."

(sheepishly) "Uh, no."

I tracked back to the online voting page and indeed, one of the little red links reads "nominate business." So who were we to argue; we aren't a business.

Basically we were fortunate to be allowed to run a race we weren't qualified for. And I did understand that the nominees are advertisers or at least potential advertisers in the
K.T. So for a non-business to win a category would defeat the purpose of the contest.

My source tells me
The Brick will get some kind of public mention and perhaps even a plaque; but will not be the winner.

We appreciate anything the
K.T. wishes to grant us and we do appreciate that they left us on the list. It's been great fun and exposure. (We'd watch the voting daily and just be amazed...)And after all, the votes do speak for themselves. (It's kind of like winning the popular vote but not the electoral.) Seriously, Sandra does make some of the best pizza in town--that's why we started to doing this--it's just too good to keep to ourselves.

To date, we do not know how we got nominated. And we have wondered about the 670 votes. One could only vote in a 24 hour period, so "stuffing the ballot box" wasn't exactly feasible.

I attribute the votes to the reality that
The Brick as a matter of course, happens through social media, whereas the other businesses happen through foot traffic. In other words, The Brick's fanbase naturally interacts and knows when the next Brick occurs through Facebook (Sandra & Morgan Young's posts) and it's website.

So for "Brick-heads" voting was just another couple clicks in their normal routine. Conversely imagine how un-natural to tell people picking up a pizza at Gabes, "After you get home, be sure to get on your computer, go to this website and vote for us." Sure they'll remember to do that (sarcasm).

The Brick owes a lot to the social media dynamic of our times. I imagine how difficult it would be to get the word out about a monthly offering that happens on different dates without Facebook, Twitter and a website. It wouldn't have worked ten years ago. Social media is a game changer, or in our case a game maker. We just won a local readers poll and spent ZERO dollars on advertising and our online presence!

Add that dynamic to the loyal fanbase of
The Brick and you get 670 votes! There is a palpable zeal to the "Brick-heads." I think that's tied to the concept that at most we're "open" once a month; so it's good food that you can't get any ol' time you desire it. (I think this dynamic works against a lot of restaurants.)

And too, I think people subconsciously voted for something beyond crust and toppings. Sandra and I are blessed with unbelievable friends. We don't know why, but great people show up when we put out the pies; people you just want to be around. And it happens in our cramped house. It's not big--it's a normal sized older home, but there's something warm and welcoming about it.

The people and the setting are things businesses can't compete with and can't replicate. Many restaurants try to make it like home, but deep down, everyone knows that only a home can be a home.

So Sandra and I want to say a huge heartfelt thank you to:

Our friends (and friends of friends) who bring their good vibes to our home, and for all the votes of encouragement.

Kokomo Tribune for allowing us to participate in a race we weren't qualified for.

God for granting us gifts of hospitality and culinary delights to share with all kinds of people.

Here's our website you don't need an invitation--we hope to see you (or meet you) soon!