Friday, December 30, 2005

...and his trusty side-kick, Thesaurus boy!

I was just reading about Power Words (kind of a slow day). Apparently you need those to go places in this world. If you can increase your vocabulary, you'll get a raise, meet new people, gain acceptance in the business community, increase your self confidence and it will clear up your acne.
I need all of that.
I took etymology somewhere in the 80's. I don't remember what I wore for 16 hours am I supposed to remember a class I took during the Reagan administration?
I need some new words.
I have a few - Pedantic, Polysyllabic, Posthumous, Prohibitive, Pulchritudinous (these are all good "P" words to slip into sentences)
If you can occasionally say, "fortuitous" or "bring this to fruition" you'll probably see some of that gaining acceptance in the business community in the first couple of days.
You'll soon have a POWER's almost heroic. Think of the prestige!!!
Can you imagine how empty your life would be if you didn't use big, smart people kindda words and couldn't even finish a simple

pop tarts and popsicles

Put a poptart in the toaster and it's tasty factor increases by 23%...that's just science. Take a popsicle and put it in the toaster and you've got problems. Put a poptart in a freezer and it's probably not so bad...I'm guessing.
I wonder sometimes how I can increase my tasty factor by 23%. I want to be more effective, helpful, encouraging, loving, patient, sarcastic...(you see what I did there?)
It seems like my environment tends to pull me up or push me down.
I'm not feeling so "up" lately.
I need a good challenge.
Maybe I should take up figure skating.
hmmm...I might have something here.

a haiku
pogo stick bouncing
don't tell our insurance guy
where's the hospital?

the key(s) to life...

I came in to work today a little early and the doors were locked. Not a big deal, I'll just use one of my three keys they gave me and open them up. This happened the other day and, as it turns out, none of my keys actually unlock the doors. I'm continually asked to go get stuff only to return a few minutes later asking someone for their keys. I always feel like a sixteen year old asking their old man for the car keys, "Hey pop, can I have the keys to the outreach closet?"
Having keys that don't work is like having a flashlight without batteries, or cranium without a timer, or tv without blossum reruns.
It's lose lose. No entry into rooms I need to get into + I'm hauling these worthless things around. Don't you just hate carrying stuff around in your life that just isn't helping?

Ironically, this whole key fiasco happened the other day and I did nothing about it. Every once in a while I'll see someone from facilities and mention that my keys are worthless for anything beyond opening boxes....but I just kind of leave it at that.
Today I will do something about it. I will change.
I read a book that compared the Beatitudes to the keys to Heaven. It was a great book.
So what was I talking about? Ah yes, the point is, I need new keys. Today I will get some.
I can just decide to seek them out. They've been promised to me. Why not get rid of the old ones that don't work...and why not claim the ones that I'm told work very well???

Thursday, December 29, 2005

3, 2, 1...

I had a good night last night. I came home from work and was watching the boys when the phone ring (ring) (kind of like you were there, huh?) Anyhow, it was Budha and he was inviting me to hang out with some friends. They were headed to Norwood around 9 and wanted me to join in.
Now at some point I've adapted my kid's schedule. It sort of feels like - when Grif goes to bed...then I start winding down. Last night I was ready for bed around 7:30. So I just couldn't see going to Norwood at 9. Anyhow, before I mentioned this, Budha said I should invite them to our's right in the middle of where everyone lives....I wouldn't have to get a babysitter....Annie wouldn't have to miss it. It's win win.
I was still a little tired, but it ended up being a great night. They left at 12:15ish and all was well. I haven't hung out with anyone past midnight in months (at least).
This Saturday we're hanging out with about a dozen or so friends for a New Years Eve party deal.
I rarely have a great New Years Eve because I tend to put too much pressure on the night. It just seems like a night where you have to stay out late...and have to have fun. Last night there was no pressure...just hanging out....past midnight...and I wasn't looking at my watch every five minutes waiting for Midnight.
It was good.
It's nice to just do...not to pressure...just do.
It's like when you volunteer to work late and the time flies by because you know you can leave whenever you want. It's this bonus time where you're on your own.
You help a friend move...and it just seems less stressful. It's not your thing...and you feel pretty good about helping...and you can leave whenever you want.
It's all bonus time.
I think a pretty good sell for taking Sabaths is that it's 24 hours of "bonus time". You're really freed up to help folks out, sit on the couch and fondle the remote, play with your kids, write some just kind of happens.
it's good...
just extra...
nice little bonus...
might be worth a shot
(I know...I's also a day to be with God....I guess a bonus day with God wouldn't be the worst thing either...)

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

turning my frown upside down

Too many negative blog entries...must stop....gotta turn this ship around. Yesterday there was a moment of panic when Cooper wouldn't stop crying and we noticed that he also wouldn't move his left arm. When we reach for him, he kind of reaches back - but he was only using his right arm. It's a panic filled moment when you can't talk to your son - but you know there could be a problem. I was feeling around his shoulder as though I knew what I was doing...and he finally stopped crying. And then he started using his arm again. And then he turned on that big 'ol Cooper smile.
And everything was ok. I can't imagine having one of my boys get really sick. One of the worst moments of my life was when Annie called me and told me Grif had a 104 temperature...and I was on a school bus full of wrestlers an hour away from home. I've never felt so helpless...except for when they wheeled him in for surgery a few months later for a minor procedure.
It's heartbreaking.
I can't handle it.
It's a whole lot bigger deal than dealing with people with no common sense or people skills because my cable went out. I'm going to choose to focus on the great wife and kids I have. I'm going to think about how great things are, and not about the stupid trivial things that I tend to let bring me down. Why would I choose to let that stupid stuff dictate my mood?
I have a ridiculous amount of Chipotle gift certificates in my wallet.
Life is good...

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

time warner is the enemy

So we had cable, internet and our phone all installed by Time Warner. We noticed after they left that they had removed 8 of our ceiling tiles...and draped 4 cables through one of the holes in the ceiling all the way to the floor. It was odd that they left the ceiling tiles out and wires dangling. We sort of thought this wasn't the safest thing for our 5 year old's play room, so we gave them a call. They said they'd hurry on 2 days. "I'm so sorry we're taking away your child's play room and making your home unsafe...not to mention unsightly...but we're not going to come out tomorrow to fix it"
I thought that was crazy.
I mentioned this to them.
They said they'd try and come out the next day.
Apparently they were just kidding...they didn't even call the next day. They didn't even show up two days later...or three...or four...or five...luckily, they came out a week later.
Two weeks after that, our cable went out. Three days later they came to fix it. A week later the cable went out. Three days later they called my cell phone to say they were ready to fix it. I didn't happen to have my cell phone on, so I was out of luck. When I called, was put on hold for 21 minutes, they told me it was all my fault. They were more than willing to fix our cable...but I didn't answer my cell phone. I asked why they didn't call our house and they said they DIDN'T HAVE THE NUMBER!!!. The number that they installed and gave to me.
So I talked with a supervisor...he sent someone out when I told him I was cancelling the full service...after our phone went out twice and our cable three times (in 27 days) I thought that was about time to give up. He said he'd send someone right out. Seven hours later they showed up. And an hour and a half later it went out again...along with our phone.
So today I decided to call the dish network. They have a number listed on their web site as "New customers" and when I called it, they ask for your account number. They have a completely different number for "existing members" so I still don't understand the machine. I don't have an account number...because I'm not a member. So I called their main number and they asked for my account number. I finally wait through three different messages where they ask for my account number and I'm looking at the web page that says, "Call this number if you'd like to sign up" and wondering how I'd have an account number if I hadn't signed up. Finally an operator answers and I ask her if there's some magical number I should call if I just want to sign up and don't have an account number yet....because I haven't signed up.
She transfered me to a number that was a busy signal.
So I tried their e-mail...and wrote that I just wanted a phone number that I could call. The e-mail came back as an out of work account. This was an e-mail I sent by just clicking on the "send us your question" button.
So I called back...and waded through the messages until a guy answered "Dish Network" and when I started talking, he just hung up.
Is it me? It must be...

Who Dey!

I've been thinking about the Who Dey chant and have come to the conclusion that maybe it's not the cheesiest thing I've ever heard. I no longer believe that it's impossible to scream at the top of your lungs "Who dey think gonna beat dem Bengals?!" and look cool at the same time. Every time I hear it I'm forced to ask myself, who actually do think they gonna beat dem Bengals? I can just see Ickey Woods doing the Ickey shuffle on someone's lawn as he tries to sell them a flank steak out of the trunk of his car...Who Dey!
Sure people make fun of THE Ohio State University...and the buckeye mascot. It's a poisonous nut. And I understand that at some point we get it...We are...Penn State....oh, that's who you are...gotcha. I know the terrible towel is probably a silly battle cry....but Who Dey think gonna beat dem Bengals? It's just bad.

Monday, December 26, 2005


I'm #2! I'm #2!
I just played in the "Super Bowl" of fantasy football...and lost. I'm the John Kerry of Fantasy Football...I'm the Philadelphia Eagles (in a good year) In life, you'll find me just behind the person heading up the project, the guy with the second best idea. I'm usually the second person into the office and I leave just before Judy from accounting leaves. "How'd yo do Sean?" "I got first place out of all the losers!"
Just hand me the freaking silver medal and give me my gift certificate to Dennys...

Friday, December 23, 2005

a haiku
Yes, Jerry can't act
but Kramer how I miss you
sliding through the door

I'm down 4 so far...

I have a friend that really gets kind of stressed out for the last quarter of every year. She starts asking everybody what they want for Christmas around September. It really drives her life. I've always been more of a "I'm not asking them what they want for Christmas...or if I do, I'm not getting them that, because it's just like giving them thirty bucks and some wrapping paper". I love the idea of thinking of someone and buying them a gift that I think will bring them some bit of joy. I like the surprise of it all. With Christmas there's very little surprise...especially if it's just a list of things they asked for. How amazing would it be if you spent the same amount of time, money and energy buying someone gifts in May. They'd freak out. "what's this for?!?!" "Just thinking of you"
We're supposed to "encourage one another daily" and to love people the way we want to be loved...what a cool way to do it. Just show up on May 7th with two arms full of gifts.
Anyhow, my friend starts shopping in September - but is still talking about her list the week before Christmas. She's constantly talking about how she knows this person won't like their gifts, and she's not excited about this other persons gifts, but "that's what they asked for". She also worries about people getting her gifts that cost more than the gifts that she bought them. It would be a complete nightmare if someone bought her something that cost $100 and she didn't even get them a plate of cookies.
Someone just dropped off a nice gift at my desk...and I like's nice.
That's all...just a nice gesture. I didn't get them anything, and I'm alright with that. I work with over 100 people either on staff here or as high commitment volunteers...I can't imagine obsessing over who I'm getting gifts for and who I'm not.
I think the real meaning of Christmas is probably a little more what we're eating for dinner Sunday night.

Thursday, December 22, 2005


I just heard them say that Tony Dungy's son died on ESPN radio. They said, "Tony Dungy's son has died so we're not concerned with sports". It was sort of an odd comment. I'm guessing that someone in sports has a close relative die every day...and yet ESPN is concerned with sports. I'm guessing that someone in sports has someone close to them fighting a war...and yet ESPN is concerned with sports. Tony Dungy is a big deal...he coaches the second best team in football (behind the Steelers of Pittsburgh) and is more visible than many in sports right ESPN radio has a somber tone today. I wonder how they react to the backup center on Oklahoma's foot all team having a mom who just found out she had cancer?
He's not a very key player on the team...he's a backup...not a big deal.
Well then, what about the starting center?
He doesn't score touchdowns or make tackles...not a big deal.
What about the quarterback?
Maybe you've got something there...but Oklahoma's pretty bad this's gonna have to be a scandal or a death.
I guess it's all about who's hot and who's not...
meanwhile, my jaw hurts like crap today...and nothing from ESPN.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

a haiku
O Television
tell me the secrets of life
so wise, yet so young

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

tennis shoes and such

I'm wearing my tennis shoes today and I'm not even planning on playing tennis (shhh). I'll be on my feet for 5 hours at the mall wrapping presents. We do this to show folks God's love in a practical way. People expect door knocking evangelists with white shirts, ties and perhaps a bicycle helmet...but not free gift wrapping. People expect someone on the beach to share the 4 spiritual laws after gathering a group together to watch a silent football game (kind of an odd reference...but it happens) but they don't expect real life practical help with something as silly as a wrapped Christmas or Hanukkah gift. I wonder sometimes if it's all worth it.
-We're spending a silly amount of money to wrap gifts for people who largely think we're either mall employees performing a service for the mall, or folks looking for donations to raise funds for a new baptismal. I hear enough stories to make me feel, for a little while at least, like it's worth it. We have close to 400 people a week come in and wrap gifts...and occasionally I'll hear about someone's comment that this was "nice" or "a cool way to serve people". I just wonder if it's the most effective way to serve the community and show them God's love in a practical way. We have 400 people a week & we spend thousands and thousands of dollars...for the occasional comment.
-I guess God's love is extravagent...and sometimes doesn't make sense. On the surface it can even seem excessive...I guess even deep down it seems excessive.
That's God's love.
-Maybe not the best use of our time and resources...but it's something. It relieves people of a few minutes of work and a few dollars worth of wrapping paper. I guess it's a good start... it'd just be sad if that was it...
"the journey of a thousand miles starts with one wrapped toaster over"
-St. Murphy of Calhoun Hall

Saturday, December 17, 2005


I get these e-mails that tell say, "Hey, long time no see" or "Where you been?" and they're from companies selling watches...or worse. I always wonder who this marketing technique works for. Can you imagine saying, "well I know they lied to me about me winning the lottery, or being a long lost friend, but I'm sure they're being upfront and honest about having a quality product and ensuring that my credit card won't be passed around the mail room for anyone who wants to do their Christmas shopping with my number.
ah well...can't wait for my watch to get here.

Friday, December 16, 2005

don't go there

Expressions that I'd like to not hear any more:
-don't go there
-nuh uh
-at the end of the day...
-Who Dey
-you go girlfriend
-anything ending in "izzle"
-the o.c.'s on!

Expressions that I'd like to hear more:
-You're right
-nice job
-hug it out
-this has been great
-here's the twenty I owe you

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Ignorance isn't so much bliss...

Only 10 percent of the world’s population lives in Africa, but it is home to 70 percent of the world’s HIV-infected people. As the HIV virus sweeps mercilessly across the African continent, only a few try to address it. Most simply look away.
To acknowledge that you have AIDS can mean certain death. A South African woman who told a televised audience on World AIDS Day was found beaten to death by family and fellow villagers six hours later.
Embarrassment about the sexually transmitted disease looms more important than future health risks. Families recoil in shame.
Most do not know how or when they caught the virus. Many never know they have it. And many who do know don’t tell. Doctors and obituaries don’t name it as a cause of death
-Africa's Hope

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

20 hours a week = 6 roses

I was in a seminar where we talked about volunteer recruiting, development and appreciation a few years ago. I'm about to go to another one. I want to get this on the record before the meeting so people won't think I'm just complaining about what was decided, discussed or denounced in the upcoming meeting. I have no idea how things will go... I just have a fear.
It's a well founded fear I think.
I've worked with high level volunteers for the past 17 years. We'd ask volunteers to give up 15-20 hours a week, attend 4 meetings a week their first year and 3 a week every year after that. We'd ask them to give up a week during the summer, 3-5 weekends a year, and tons of cash into their gas tanks and paying for various ministry related items.
Occasionally we'd throw them a t-shirt.
And I would never apologize. These folks were giving up their lives and that's kind of what we talk about when we say things like, "I gave my life to Christ" or "I want to live sacrificially" or "carry your cross". It seems extreme, but I know people who give their lives to TV, drugs, school, relationships, video games...things both good and bad....but, in relation to the God of the Universe...these things pale in comparison.
(and... I'm off my soap box)
So I was in this meeting where they talked about standards. It was mentioned that it wasn't necessary for their volunteers to be that involved...if they prayed for the kids...showed up to stuff when they could...tried to help out. That would be great. Many people agreed and we moved on to how to appreciate our leaders. Someone stood up and talked about how they give a rose to their leaders during one of their meetings. Someone else talked about more extravagent gifts. I saw people writing this all down.
I couldn't hold it any longer. I said that we give leaders opportunities to see changed lives. We allow leaders to have enough leadership to take people places. We challenge them to stretch themselves...and to live for God and others...even when it doesn't seem convenient. We set up our leaders to succeed...and that beats the crap out of getting a freaking rose.
Ultimately, do you want to remember getting a rose....or having someone thank you for being a part of shaping their life?
I'm just scared that I'm about to go to another meeting where we talk about roses...

Monday, December 12, 2005

As good as it gets...

I was talking with a group and describing what it means to be a Christian. One of the misconceptions of being a follower of Jesus is that we have this big list of "do's" and "don'ts". It's as if instead of a relationship with Jesus, we live by some divine shopping list that's stuck on our fridge, "On your way to work, do nice things, treat people well, give money to the church...and don't forget not to smoke crack, have sex with people you're not married to and quit watching those filthy movies!"
I think the Jewish Proverb that says, "May you be covered with the dust of your rabbi's feet" is a pretty good way of illustrating what it means to be a Christian. To follow Jesus so closely that we're covered by the dust he's kicking up as we walk closely behind him...that's what it's all about. To simply walk with, behind, the same general vicinity, as our Lord
I had a chance to wrestle an Olympic champion once. It wasn't pretty. I considered myself a decent wrestler, but in relation to him...I was a chump. In relation to the God of the Universe...I'm just a fallen, broken guy that thinks too much about myself and not enough about others. It's hard to be around Olympic champions and not yearn to be better. Conversely, it's impossible to follow closely the God of the Universe and not want to be a better person.
Jack Nicholson said it in As Good as it Gets, "You make me want to be a better man".
That's what it means to follow Jesus. He makes me want to be a better man. That's my list...."Don't forget to follow Jesus today"
Now maybe it's time for me to stop talking so much about it...and try and catch up.

Friday, December 09, 2005

the heart of it all

I'm headed to the heart of the heart of it all (Ohio) today. I get to speak to 800 people at Columbus, YoungLife's fall weekend. I've spoken on a bunch of these before, but they're usually 300-500. 800 will be the biggest weekend I've ever been on. I've been obsessing about that number for a few days now. Talking with that many people about Jesus is sort of a daunting task. At the same time, bring 'em on...the more the better. The thing is that I've spent a lot of time thinking through what to say and how to say it. It's an incredible responsibility to share the Gospel with that many people. There's huge potential with this.
I was thinking about the potential, the responsibility and the priveledge earlier. At some point it occured that I've had the potential and arguably the responsibility and priveledge to share the Gospel with that many people all along. St. Francis said that we shold preach the Gospel continually and when necessary, use words. I don't need a fall weekend, or a microphone or any sort of event to share the Gospel with that many people. I just need to focus on start serving people beyond the first mile (or what's expected) and start living the second mile....then people will start asking what I'm looking at....or why I'm doing the things I'm doing. Maybe this weekend is just a smart tool for starting the conversation...

Thursday, December 08, 2005

no you aren't...

When you say that you're going to give something 110% of your attention.
You're lying.
It's impossible.
There's only 100%...
and who are we kidding....maybe you'll give 80%.
Roger Bannister gave 99% of his effort when he broke the 4 minute mile...and he passed out at the finish line.
Ever do that?

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

little things...

My leg hurts today. I was lugging around cases of bottled water yesterday...and then was on my feet for 6 hours. My hip started to hurt. Then my knee. Then my ankle. It all kind of flows that way. I met a chiropractor that will take x-rays and then set you up on this machine that has this tiny little pin like lever that just barely touches your neck. He sets you up in such a position (takes a long, long time) that he just barely has to touch you...and it knocks the axis bone (I think that's what it's called). The axis bone affects your head tilt...which means that if it's crooked, you compensate by leaning one way or the other to keep your head straight. And if you lean a little, that affects your hips, knees, ankles. That tiny little bone affects the rest of your body.
If someone says a kind does something for me. It helps to soften me...or at least to keep me a little less callous. Just something little like that can keep me straight. In the same way the tongue is a mighty muscle...and it can break me down quickly. It can throw my life out of whack. I say dumb things...people say dumb things to me...we talk about dumb things...and I get all out of whack.
I need to focus on Jesus. When I do that, I tend to say less dumb things. I also tend to say kinder things to the people that He loves.
It's just a little what am I focused on?

Monday, December 05, 2005


Three guys in the history of the major leagues have hit 30 or more triples in one season. Over 100 players have hit 40 or more home runs in one season. Close to 100 have hit 50 doubles in one season. The triple really is the hardest of the four hits. People get excited when they can round the bases in one turn. They like a double because it's harder than just getting on base...but the triple is by far the hardest.
I think life can be like that. We get excited just getting up to bat...and getting into the game. Sometimes we strike out. We often get our bat on the ball...but don't quite get on base. It's great when we hit a double, but it makes us yearn for that homerun. But a triple? It's too hard. Too much energy without the same payoff as a homerun. Who wants to get on third?
I don't.
I want homeruns.
They're more exciting...people react to homeruns.
This weekend wasn't a homerun. It wasn't even a slap single. It was a clean strike out.
We put on this event kind of deal and had about 64 people show up. Out of thousands...we had 64. I started putting my list of excuses together. Bad weather. We had 400 people volunteer for other events this week (still....out of thousands), we didn't get much press...I suck.
When I start complaining about signage...that's when you'll know I'm out of relational ministry and in "getting people to show up" ministry.
I need to be better about giving our leaders ownership. I need to encourage them to be our signs and our announcements. I need to get our leaders to pull the string and to stop trying to push the string. I need to pull some string myself.
I need to get back to working the count, getting on base however I can...and then letting one of our rookies be a pinch runner.
I'm kind of slow.

Friday, December 02, 2005

Things that would help me sleep at night

There's just something about this building I work in... It was designed with many many offices and absolutely no storage. That's another subject though. The thing about this building is that it has one thermostat that's in a little office down the hall. Apparently they have a couple of space heaters in there and it's cranked up to the point that high school wrestlers are coming over to make weight. Meanwhile I have the air conditioning on over my desk. You could fly a kite over my file cabinet. I'm actually sharing an office with Ted Williams.
It's kindda cold here.
I'm thinking of making some changes in the 'ol oficina, as my friends at Chipotle call it.
First I'd like to design a series of hoops that line the halls. This way, when I'm asking for something to be put together and told to go fill out an online form with a formal request, and then told to run it by our volunteer assistant, and then told that they don't have time so I go back to the original department that does this sort of thing and describe the project, and then am told that they received my request and it's too small so I should probably just do it myself....(take a deep breath...I'm going somewhere with this) this way as I go back and forth down the newly designed hallway - I'll be jumping through literal and figurative hoops.
Second I'd like to put in some pop machines that sell bottles. There's just something about drinking out of a can that I don't like.
Thirdly, and maybe most importantly, I'd like to install a drive thru window. This way if someone needs to pick up some food for their family, some clothes, or just to drop something off...they can just pull right up. I'm guessing that we'd be the first church in America with a drive thru. There's gotta be some value in that...