Saturday, September 30, 2006

There's a new sheriff in town

Sean is gone and weekends are not for polls anymore.

Weekends in the fall are for sleeping in, lounging in your jammies, eating a big, hot breakfast, getting some grubby clothes on and heading to the yard to play some kind of game, do some kind of yard work or go to some kind of garage sale. How great does that day smell? No matter what the activity, the point is being outside and feeling the waning heat of the sun underneath the coolness of the air. Gathering up every last bit of the heat before we collide with the bitter winter air.

Why is it that it is way too easy to get up on the weekends yet I need three alarm clocks, a child jumping on me and a fire hose to get me out of bed on Tuesday? How come you can't go to bed too late or get up too early on vacation? What is it about being in a different place, in a different bed, on a different street that makes things so much more pleasing to our senses? What do those things fill in us that going to work, making money and living in our neighborhoods don't? There is just something about escaping...

Vacation life would be so perfect if it could last forever. Believe me, I've tried. After Seans dad passed away, we left. We honestly just started driving and ended up in Canada and I would have stayed forever. But in order to maintain vacation life, we couldn't stay long enough to let anything feel old. That's the thing, as soon as things feel done, vacation feels less fun. When there aren't really any new restaurants left to try and you recognize the lifeguards and you can find your way around town, it begins to feel like home. And isn't home what we are trying to avoid? So we left Canada, went here and there, tried to see as many baseball games as we could, we spent time with the greatest grandma to ever have been a grandma, and we worked through some sadness. I remember so clearly the night Sean held my hands and said, "Annie, we need to go home tomorrow."

And I am so glad he did. That is when I began to quit running from life, relationships, reality. I began to grow roots and grow up. And now I am ready for Sean to come home.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Note to Pastors:

Note to Pastors:
you should know that I think your job, like most jobs, is a lot harder than it looks. I know you’re always on. I know that more people want more things from you than you can probably give. I know that you need some time at home and with your family and that line sometimes gets fuzzy when people are always calling for advice, stopping by, or asking you to stop by the (funeral home, hospital, house or cousin’s kid’s play)

Here are just a couple of thing that I’ve noticed:
I heard a speaker last night that was pretty good. I’d say he’s a good 40-45 minute speaker. I think you should only speak for as long as you are good…and not necessarily as long as the spot they’ve given you. You’ll never have to apologize for going short. This guy went for about two hours. After an hour and twenty minutes he said, “I know we’re tight on time” and then went another 39 minutes.

39 minutes

An entire team of writers puts together The Office each week. They come up with 22 minutes worth of good material…make it visually appealing…leave 8 minutes for commercials…and call it a week.

You’re not as good as an entire team of writers. You’re just not. (I do realize that you have better material to work with)

This guy was non verbally saying (while he was verbally sharing his message) that he didn’t care that the conference was supposed to end at 9:00 (that’s arrogance)
He was saying that what he had to say was more important than whatever we had planned from 9:00 on. (more of the same)
He was going back on a promise that they made when they said that we'd get out of there by 9:00.


He just didn’t plan out his talk. He didn’t time it out and realize that he was going to go over. He didn’t think it was important enough to plan it out.

That’s not good…because I know he had some good things to say….plenty of it….but most of us can’t retain that much….we just can’t.

Here’s one other note to Pastors:
He used fill in the blank notes and once he made his last point you could hear hundreds of people folding up their notes, gathering their things, stuffing things into bags and a bit of a murmur. Once you fill out the last blank, a lot of people check out.

This is when you’re really trying to nail your last point. This is what you want to leave them with…and they’re rummaging through their things wondering how crowded the parking lot is…

I’m not sure that’s the way to go…but that’s just my little ‘ol opinion.

I still love you gals and guys…

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Haunted house

Sean is gone. BOO. No really, it sucks. I used to be one who wouldn't/couldn't sleep when he wasn't home. I would lock the doors, check them, go upstairs, go downstairs, lock them again, put a chair under the doorknob, then set the alarm and full out run and jump into bed so that the guy hiding under the bed couldn't grab my ankles and literally hide under the covers thinking the boogey man couldn't get me if I can't see him then I'd just sit and listen for the alarm to go off all night.

As I have gotten older, I can sleep now but usually fall asleep with the tv on and the timer set to turn it off 3 hours later.

I have also stopped asking people to spend the night while Sean is gone and good thing because Jana is leaving for the weekend, Peggy and Susan and going on a vacation, Katy and Liz are going home and since Griffin asked if he could sleep with me because, "this pillow smells like Daddy and I miss Daddy", there wouldn't be much room for Adam and Ashley too.

It is funny that part of the reason I feel safer is that there are other people in my house and those other people are a combined age of 92 months. Although, I do think that Parker could smile someone to death, Cooper could bite their fingers and Griffin could talk someone's ears off.

I have also realized how paralyzing fear, rational or not, can be. I have had many things in my life that have left me with some legitimate fears and close to countless irrational fears. Things that have left small scratches and things that have left huge gashes and things that are still internally bleeding. Many things I have chosen to do but several that I had no choice in. And as scared as I may be to sleep in a house without my man, I would chose to stay sleepless rather than let my children grow up fearful and afraid. I will fight to the end for those little people.

There is little that I can think of that I won't do for them. I am amazed at the way a heart can love when it comes to children that are your own. When I say I love my children, I mean I love them, no I really, really love them, I looooooooooooove them, there is passion and emotion and intensity behind that word that is so over used and meaningless today. To quote a friend, "Love is the most profound and most prostituted word."

As much as I love my kids, I could not, would not choose to let any one of them die. I would have problems if there was something that took them from me and but to hand them over? I can't even begin to think about the words to describe how that just wouldn't happen. So a long time ago, God did just that with His boy Jesus. It hurts my heart to just deal with that aspect of it. There was a giant, uncrossable chasm between us and God and there had to be a way to get us back into a right relationship with Him because that is what He created us for, to be in a right relationship with Him. I can't help but think there had to be another way and I am guessing God thought about it a lot more than I did.

So as I head upstairs with a chair under the doorknob (really there is), I know that the God I know as my Father that I can have this relationship with because of the way he loves me, he really, really loves me, he loooooooooooooooves me, I can sleep easy and unafraid. A guy who wrote some good stuff in the bible said once, "there is no room in love for fear." If you have a sec, you should check out that love and see what you think.

Good night Sean, I love you...

things I'd rather

I'd rather live in Ohio than's true, Ohio is kind of vanilla - but have you ever talked to people who've lived in Boston? They talk about how warm and inviting and non-racist everyone wait, that's not it....what do they say? Doesn't matter - I'd rather live in Ohio.

I'd rather watch football than baseball, and good college wrestling than football.

I'd rather read fiction than non-fiction.

I'd rather watch a comedy than a drama, even thought most comedies are awful and many of my top ten movies are dramas.

I'd rather eat at a fast food restaurant than an expensive one.

I'd rather take a bath than take a shower.

I'd rather not have any bumperstickers on my car.

I'd rather eat steak than chicken...but I can't.

I'd rather read Fuller's blog than the newspaper.

I'd rather talk with friends while hanging out than go to some sort of event where I can't hang out and talk with friends.

I'd rather play racquetball than golf.

I'd rather spend an hour getting kicked in the elbow than mow my lawn.

I'd rather learn to ride a unicycle than learn to line dance.

I'd rather listen to Dennis Miller's Off White Album than just about any music cd.

I'd rather get beat playing ping pong than win playing air hockey.

I'd rather stay with my family than go to this conference for three days.

I'd rather have this job that makes me go to conferences than work somewhere that isn't actively feeding, counseling, equipping and caring for so many people every day.

I'd rather be something you'll never hear me say....or see on a bumpersticker on my car.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How to make a horrific story worse

I know we get a worst story ever told to us every couple of week, but I can't imagine a story much worse than the Marcus Feisel one.

On August 15th there was a search for the missing Marcus. On Aug 4, prosecutors say the Carrolls headed for a family reunion, wrapped up Marcus like a mummy with packing tape, put him in a closet, and left. Early on August 6, they returned and found him dead.

On August 10, a caseworker visits the Carroll home trying to see Marcus, but Liz tells her Marcus is sick and turns her away. August 15, Liz allegedly feigns passing out at Juilf's Park in Anderson Township. David arrives about 20 minutes later and tells authorities that Marcus was with Liz and is missing. "I'm not thinking anything besides he's scared and hiding, you know. Anderson township, I'll imagine they'll find him. I'm praying to God and hoping everything will be find."

August 21, Liz Carroll makes a tearful plea on Local 12. "That's why I went into foster care, that's why I went into daycare, cause kids are my life." August 22, Liz makes another public plea appearing in the clothes she says she wore the day she collapsed. "He was never happier than the times that he was with me. I just ask that he please be returned." Monday, August 28. Amy Baker, a live in girlfriend of the Carroll's gives investigators the break they need, revealing the Carroll's plot and leading investigators to the place he was burned. Liz and David are charged with involuntary manslaughter.

This is a pretty awful story...

And now the mother is suing the County. This is the mother who had her child taken from her after he fell out of a window. This is the mother who had her child taken from her when he was found wandering the streets by himself. This is the mother who had three kids living in a flea and feces ridden house that didn't have food. This is the mother who had the option of applying for custody again of her son and opted not to.... She was saying loud and clear that "this is your problem now" and all of this just makes me sick...

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

two for Tuesday

I get to be at work from 8:30 until 9:30 tonight!

Actually I'll be working until 5 and volunteering until I guess that's different. It's awkward when you volunteer at the same place that you work. It's hard to draw a line between, I've been working for way too long....and, I want to volunteer here just like I'm encouraging others to do...

I believe in this place (for the most part) and want to see more great things happen. I'd love to be a part in feeding over 1000 families a month. I love that we get glasses to people who can't afford them. It's fun for me that prisoners head straight from their cells to our doors to get help starting over. I get to see people drive away in cars that we helped them jobs that we helped them find.

I also see people walk in who are struggling with depression, divorce, sickness and are just emotionally on edge...and I know that we're working hard to help in any way we can.

I was talking to a guy the other day and he told me that he stopped to help someone who had run out of gas. He drove to the nearest gas station and asked if he could borrow a gas can to help someone out. They told him no, but he could buy one. He ended up buying the can and the gas and then the gas station employee asked if he went to the Vineyard. "Yeah, how'd you know?" "Because you guys are always helping people"
True story

Kind of cool...and I get to be a very small part of that.

nice...even when I feel like I'm living there.

Monday, September 25, 2006


My favorite college football team won a big game this weekend. I watched that, went to church and did a skit, and then found out one of my friends almost died.

Sunday I went back to church and did the skit/scene/thing three more times, watched part of my favorite pro team's game(they lost), and went to a party/dinner/thing that I was helping to put together.

My friend was having abdominal pain that escalated to him getting incredibly sick, his roommate calling an ambulance, and a doctor telling him later that if hadn't...Dan wouldn't have made it. (I should mention that this is all 7th hand and it might turn out that he just chipped his tooth on some bad pretzels) Apparently he had internal bleeding, his stomach was filling up with blood, he had a blood clot moving to his heart....and I guess all of that hurts.

They gave him a minute to talk with him mom before going into surgery and then cut him from chest to belly button.

That's the news I was given Saturday night.

I never really know what to do that. My first thought was that he was 7 hours away...but I had to do three skits the next day.

Skits and a party. That's why I didn't go.

Sad,huh? The hard part was that one person had worked hard on the skit, a few support folks had worked to some degree on it, and two other people had been practicing the skit for a week. We also had a team of folks putting together the party/dinner/thing and I didn't want to bail.

That's the problem when someone goes in the hospital that isn't your grandpa, brother or even cousin. It's hard to get people to understand why it's so urgent for you to be there.

So I didn't go. The doctors never called me for advice. In post-op they didn't call for my recommendations on pain meds. There's just not much I could have done, except be there.

they tell me he's doing well, but I want to see for myself.

Keep in mind that he's a 22 year old who's in great shape and wasn't smoking crystal meth when he got sick. He just did.

You never know. The last thing I said to him was in an e-mail I sent him Friday about a poet I thought he'd like. I'm glad that's not the last thing I'll ever say to him. I'm still praying that he'll come back 100%...and you can to. Pray for Dan.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Arguments are always fun to dissect after the fact.

I've learned a few things about how people argue (especially on these comment wars).

The best thing you can do is lay out a really simple version of the opposing view before you start. One of my favorite blogs does this when they're writing something that's sort of controversial. They would write, "and before you start yelling that Santa doesn't exist, I've heard the argument before...but I think" So while the Santa doesn't exist argument might be a strong argument for some....they're now not allowed to bring it up because it's sort of already out there. If you do bring it up, you're met with "I know that, I just said that" It's amazing how well this works. It's almost as though this perfectly valid argument that could be fleshed out in a way that leaves very little room for debate, now doesn't even exist.

The other big one I've seen a lot (especially in politics) is to deflect the issue to ancillary issues. "I think it's silly for the government to pay for our TV" "so we shouldn't pay taxes?" "No, I just don't want them to go to another TV station" "and then not for schools, highways..." "no, I just don't want them to go to TV" "so we should pick and choose where our taxes go to" "no, we elect people to do that, I'm just saying that I wish they wouldn't send our money to TV." "So you think we should punch old ladies who aren't getting health care?" "No, I just think we probably have enough TV right now"

Here's the one that drives me up the wall because it's so silly: "well you're not a woman, so you can't speak to this issue" Really? "until you can have a baby, you shouldn't get a vote in this" This argument can be won by saying, "so if one girl on this planet agrees with me, then the argument is valid? I can probably find one....should I do that, or can we just discuss the issues?
John McEnroe once said that a woman shouldn't comment on men's professional tennis...Do you really think that's true? It's just silly.

"I've also seen the exasperated sigh followed by a quick head turn and storming out the room. It ends the I guess there's always that.

There's the ever popular, "that's dumb, you're dumb!" argument. The, "you're just saying that because you heard/saw it on Fox news/NPR/talk radio/The New York Times"

Ultimately the way to win one of these is by crying. How ya gonna beat that one?

PS - do they tell baseball managers that it's more effective to put your nose 1 inch from the ump's nose when they're arguing? You'd think after 50 years or so they'd figure out that that never helps...nor does kicking dirt over the plate. Silly managers...

Thursday, September 21, 2006

it's getting a little cold outside

I love it when it goes from summer to early fall and you can wear shorts and a sweatshirt. That's just about perfect for me. The only downside to that is when I first wake up. In the mornings our house feels about 10 below and I'm not sure how to fix that. You have the air on in the middle of the day when it's feeling hot out...but want the heat on for the mornings.

Annie likes the place to be cold at night...and so do I, but she thinks it's not cold until my nose is running and the kids start to turn blue. Two houses ago I figured I had this solved by buying one of those fancy digital thermostats. You just put the temperature on there that you'd like your house to be at, and bingo regulates the temp.

It didn't really work like that. You'd put the temp on and then you'd still have to choose air conditioning or heat. It was just a fancier version of the old dial thermostat I had.

This is what I need - I need a digital thermostat that would turn on the heat or the air conditioning as needed. I'd set it for 70 degrees, maybe the air conditioning kicks on, and then the heat would kick on around 5:30 in the morning.
Problem solved.

I'm actually typing this with mittens on right now.

Did I mention how silly PBS is?

Wednesday, September 20, 2006


Things I don't understand:

Why do we have public television and public radio? Should we tell these folks that you can sell 30 second commercials to advertisers and pay for the tv and radio that way? Is this really something that we want our tax dollars to go towards?

Why don't we go ahead and change the name of worcester sauce? Can we agree to just call it chester sauce?

How about national funding of the arts? I'm guessing if a play is good...people will show up and pay to watch it. If an art exhibit is good...people will buy the art. Don't we already have a built in system for paying for the arts that makes sense? We have the people who enjoy that particular art pay for it.

What's the deal with the Las Vegas national campaign? "what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" Really?
So it's ok to do stuff there that you wouldn't do in other places? Vegas is the place where you can do stuff that you won't ever tell anyone about? It's like our national safety zone.... cheat on your wife here in Vegas! It's ok, we won't tell!

How do they make those Passat commercials where the people get into head on head collisions while they're in the middle of a conversation about hats? They're just talking about some mundane topic and blamo....big accident followed by them standing next to the car shaking their heads as if to say, "thank heavens we're safe because of our great car" They're good commercials....really got me thinking about trading in the 'ol miniature van.

Why aren't my fellow Irishmen picketing the football games because they're referring to my people as the "fighting Irish"?

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

irony or decide

"Benedict XVI began a lecture in the Aula Magna of the University of Regensburg in Germany. As Joseph Ratzinger, the pope spent much of his life in the country’s academic milieu; as he spoke to a gathering of scientists in the hall, he reminisced about his teaching days at the University of Bonn. “There was a lively exchange with historians, philosophers, philologists ...” Benedict said early in an address on faith and reason. Citing a conversation between a 14th-century Christian Byzantine emperor and an Islamic Persian, Benedict quoted Manuel II: “‘Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached.’”

He did say Manuel II’s words were “startlingly brusque,” and made certain the audience understood he was reading a quotation,

In the stormy aftermath of the address—on Saturday two churches in the West Bank were bombed. "

one possible view of this encounter:
Pope talks about this 14th Century fella's take on Islam. Apparently the guy he's quoting thinks the Muslims tend to lean a little towards violence. This makes some Muslims so mad they go out and start bombing churches and kill a nun.

Monday, September 18, 2006


I used to wonder why so many Pastor's kids were so screwed up.
I've figured out a few reasons:
1. They're not really that screwed up - it's just a whole lot more noticeable because, "can you believe that kid's dad is a Pastor?"

2. Often their parent comes home after loving and serving folks all day...and they take the evening off...and that sucks.

3. Their parents aren't home a lot...because that is a 24 hour a day job. I've heard about people complaining that their pastor didn't take the time to do something with/for their family - not understanding that that Pastor worked 50+ hours and barely saw their own family that week.

#2 is what I'm thinking about right now. If you're a mechanic and your neighbors are always bugging you to fix their cars...I guess that could get annoying. Every time I meet a doctor, I jokingly ask them about my lower lumbar...but I'm guessing lots of people pester them about their medical maladies...and they aren't joking.

I'm not sure that you can turn on and off the whole loving and serving the people around you thing. I have a friend that is a Pastor who works a second job. He goes in, largely ignores people, and then leaves. He's all business at the workplace.

I'm not convinced that that's where we're supposed to be. We talk all the time about folks loving their neighbors, serving others...and what better place than in the workplace?

It's like all the Pastors who take time off work to go to a Christian conference, and then skip the conference on Saturday because, "that's MY time". The conference is good enough to skip your ministry time, but not your YOU time...
We're BEGGING people to take a few days off work and come to this conference, but there is no way you'll catch ME there on my day off.

We work with hundreds and hundreds of volunteers. They work 40+ hours a week and then come in on THEIR time to help out. We work our hours and then go home and watch Dancing with the Stars.

We're asking them to live sacrificially, and we're collecting a paycheck.

We love to speak to crowds and tell them about loving our neighbors...but I'm just going to hunker down and do MY thing for awhile.

#2 exists on the list because we're better at talkin' than walkin'

Friday, September 15, 2006

7 habits...

Sam Metcalf wrote:
In my experience, ineffective spiritual leaders:

1. Have issues with authority. They have never learned to be a follower.

2. Experience little closure. They donÂ’t or canÂ’t complete processes. There is a lack of faithfulness in the small things.

3. Gravitate to extremes. For example: there is a demon behind every bush and life is super-spiritualized or they only understand the human dynamic of ministry and there is little room for the supernatural.

4. Have never thought through a clearly articulated philosophy of ministry.

5. Cannot tell the difference between their ambitions and God’s desires, most often because they have never learned to hear from God. Their “theology of guidance” is warped.

6. Do not listen well and donÂ’t ask questions. They are unteachable. Usually, this stems from an arrogant, know-it all, self-absorbed perspective.

7. Are uniquely susceptible to acts of the flesh because they have not dealt with their emotional “stuff” and are unaccountable.

I think he's pretty right on a lot of these. I've defnoticednoticied #4 happening. I see "leaders" railing against the status quo and then when asked how they would change things....."um.....I'd....just be nicer to people"

I'm not sure that #1 and #6 are actually that different, but maybe he just wanted to have 7 habits??? Maybe I'm just lumping them together because they're both so obviously about pride.

I will say that I think he's right on those as well. Some would read this and say, "well I definitely ask a lot of questions" and I know as a question asker that often my questions are there only to flesh out my ideas or to manipulate a conversation (I'm a jerk)

The world needs more leaders. We just need less leaders who are living out these 7...

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

a day in the life...

woke up, fell out of bed...dragged a comb across my head

I thought I'd document today and see what I'd learn about my world. One thing I learned is that people treat someone carrying a camera very much like someone carrying a gun. They tend to duck...

They also ask the same kinds of questions you might ask someone walking around the office carrying a gun, "what are you doing with that?" "why do you have that?" "why are you pointing that at me?" "don't point that at me!"

I arrived at work at 8:3o - I like to get there a little early, but I was stuck behind a train. To be honest though...this is what our parking lot looked like-

You should see it on Mondays and Fridays...

So I walk into the office building - and am greeted by Carolyn who might be the nicest gal this side of Wheeling, WV.

Then I was off to my little world of laptops and scattered papers

Soon our Communications Director Paul stopped by and I could tell by his non-verbal communication that he felt like someone made him sit through a double header baseball game while small children pelted him with salted peanuts and the jumbo tron fell on his head.

poor little fella...

and then it was off to Staff prayer (or was that before Paul stopped by?) You must be sitting on the edge of your seat thinking to yourself, "I wonder when it was?" or "this feels like the time my friend decided to start scrapbooking and then made me look at all of their pages of pictures of people I don't know with little captions that aren't that interesting")

I ran into Alton, the new H.S. ministry guy who might very well be the new "fun guy" that you want to hang out with and ask to tell the rest of the group that great story almost doesn't matter with someone who tells a great story.

Here he is being pulled by married Ashley and engaged Jen....awkward...

And here is Ashley and her boss Evan. He seems to have been working out lately...

but it feels a little like she's making fun of his biceps, "my husband could so take you and your tatoo embossed biceps Evan!"

So I went to some meetings, talked on the phone, wrote some stuff, and walked around a bit...and then I came home to Coop, who has the croup (I didn't know what that meant either)

he'll be good in a few the meantime, he's the coolest cat I know...


I just saw a story about some baseball team and honestly thought, "they're still playing baseball?"

Why would they keep playing baseball once College and Pro football has started?

Do people still care about each of the 162 games these guys play?

How could you possibly keep up with that?

I hear that there are people out there that will watch or listen to every game in a season. I just have no idea how someone could commit to something like that.

Even if it was some point you've just got to move on to something else.

In football they run constantly. In baseball they run occasionally.

In football they hit each other constantly. In baseball they might have a collision once in a game.

In football every player is involved in every play. In baseball 7 or 8 guys watch the play from the field while an entire team (minus the batter) watches the play from the bench.

In football the coach wears a sweatshirt. In baseball the coach wears tight pants, stirrup socks, a jersey and a hat.

In football there are quarters, a half time and some timeouts. In baseball the entire game is one big time out with an occasional hit or catch.

162 freaking games! Are you kidding me? Let's move on with our lives.

I'd still rather watch 162 baseball games than 3 soccer matches.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

tag...I'm it

I've been tagged. I wasn't completely sure what that meant...because I'm the dumbest guy on the blogosphere (it's a word). What I've decided, without asking anyone, is that I take a list of questions that I was "tagged" with, and answer them. I'm all for that, I'm just not sure if I'm supposed to pass this list on and "tag" someone else....any help out there?

Mr. David Rudd did the tagging...and you never forget who first tagged you.

Three things that scare me.
1. small, enclosed spaces
2. country music
3. the ballet

Three people who make me laugh.
1. Mike Chilcoat
2. Gary Gullman
3. Brian Regan

Three things I hate.
1. abdominal pain
2. pride
3. bad customer service when you've paid a ridiculous amount of money so that if and when something breaks you'll be able to get it fixed or repaired without much hassle, but it ends up being a huge hassle because the people are either incompetent or rude or both, even though you have a super cool looking card that means you're some kind of member at their store, but in reality it doesn't get you any preferential treatment just more junk mail." - Amen Dave Rudd

Three things I don't understand.
1. foreign languages
2. the appeal of So You Think You Can Dance
3. Fans of colleges in Florida

Three things I am doing right now.
1. watching football highlights
2. regretting eating so many toasted garlic bagel chips
3. thinking about Bob Saget

Three things I want to do before I die.
1. watch Grif grow up
2. watch Coop grow up
3. watch Parker grow up

Three things I can do.
1. type
2. a sweet round off
3. talk smack

Three ways to describe my personality.
1. consistent
2. sexy as hell
3. saget-like

Three things I can't do.
1. sing for twenty minutes and enjoy it
2. speak a foreign language
3. focus for more than 7 minutes

Three things I think you should listen to.
Steve Fuller at Alpha
1. Griffin laugh
2. Dave Wolfenberger
3. Dennis Miller's -Off White Album

Three favorite foods.
1. Steak from a grill
2. Bruegger's Bagels Herby Turkey on a toasted salt bagel
3. Schlotzsky's Bar B Q Pizza

Three beverages I drink.
1. Diet Dr. Pepper (up 'til two weeks ago)
2. Crystal Lite
3. water (unfortunately)

Three shows I watched as a kid.
1. Happy Days
2. Ten Speed and Brown Shoe
3. M*A*S*H (The greatest)

Monday, September 11, 2006

Terrible towel?

Given a choice, most people would choose to have their favorite teams do better than their fantasy teams.

I'd rather the Pittsburgh Steelers win another Super Bowl (one for the thumb...on the second hand) than win my fantasy football league.

I have absolutely nothing to do with the Steelers winning any games. I sit and wave my terrible towel (what's that about anyway?) and hope they win. I have a whole lot to do with how my fantasy football team does.

I pick the players. I make the trades. I decide who starts and who sits. (and I didn't start Donovan McNabb yesterday) I have a big say in how my team does...but I'm still a lot more concerned with how the team that I have no control over does.

I do the same thing in life. I control how I act, react, live, serve, sit silently, take a stand...and yet I'm often way more concerned with the people around me and how they live.

I can't change that...but I can change my decisions...

Maybe there's something to that?

Friday, September 08, 2006

weekends are for polls

Why Saget will rule the fantasy football world

Fantasy football season is officially under way. I always feel pretty good about my chances and this year is no different.

My team, "Saget", has some of the top players, but I usually feel that way after the draft. Based on my rankings, I always have more top guys than anyone else. This year I have two of the top ten running backs (they're the most valuable in this league), two of the top ten quarterbacks, two of the top twenty wide receivers, three of the top twenty tight ends, the top kicker and the sixth ranked defense.

Given that I was the twelfth and final pick in the draft...and that running backs are worth so much, this feels like a pretty great team.

That's just it though - you never really know what you've got until you play.

Last night Charlie Batch threw three touchdown passes and racked up great fantasy points. Sadly, no one drafted him. It was all for naught. I hope nobody tells poor Charlie that last night was a total waste of his talents.

It'd be a shame to have him on your team and to not have started him yesterday. How frustrating is it to have something so great go to waste???

It'd also be a shame to have this ability to love, serve and encourage others...but to have it sit the bench because you just didn't think it'd be worth it most days.

Who wants to waste talent? Who isn't frustrated when a great athlete blows it by getting arrested or doing something stupid that precludes them from playing? Or the guy who just sort of coasts on his talent...because it's good enough? We are that athlete. We all do it in some way. Maybe it's the missed opportunity to encourage someone. Maybe you have the gifts and abilities to do some great work...but instead you're memorizing guys stats for your fantasy league...

So how do you maximize your gifts and abilities? How do you live your life in a way that isn't just coasting? How are you going to live in such a way that you know in the fourth quarter you'll end up scoring the winning touchdown (and then Joey Porter will seal the win with an interception) - because you're prepared to win?

I guess you never know until you play...

Thursday, September 07, 2006

and the first announcement is...

I did the transitions at my church this past weekend (that's what we call the announcements....transition from music to talk). It's fun to get up in front of thousands of people and talk for a bit, but it's not anything I've ever asked to . The odd part for me is when I came off the stage.

I had someone ask me why a friend of mine never gets to do the announcements. "She used to do stand up comedy. She would be great!" As she said this, more and more girls were circling me saying the same kinds of things.

I agree...and I'm not in charge.

"But it's time more women were doing the announcements" "OK...and that's why last week we had a woman do them. And next week we have a woman. And it's really not a man/woman thing anyhow." "That's easy for you to say, you're a man!"

We have three women and two men who regularly do them. I wonder if, when Dana does them this week, she'll be hit up by a bunch of guys demanding that more men get to do them.

They're announcements, not seats on the front of the bus.

Somehow the perception is that men always do them.
Perception = belief
too bad Truth doesn't = belief

bummer, huh?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Left arm hangin' on Mr. Cooper

Cooper dislocated his elbow the other day. If you're wondering how that feels, I guess it kind of hurts.

We noticed that he wasn't using his left arm all of a sudden. We never saw it happen...he was playing with a half dozen kids in a huge room. When we went to feed him we noticed that he wouldn't lift his left arm. He kept pointing to it (which is part of the sign language for "this is where it hurts") He wouldn't use both hands to drink from his cup and his arm was just lifeless.

That's the problem with one year olds, they can't really communicate their pain very well. All the while we're wondering if he's just not using it, or if there's some kind of problem.

Annie took him to Children's Hospital. It was sad watching Coop point and walk around like little kids do....using so much motion, all the while his left arm was just hanging there.

When they saw the doctor, he immediately knew what it was and popped it back in. There was some hysterical screaming for about 5 seconds and then Coop was pointing to a ball and saying, "Ball! Ball!" although it sounds kind of like, "baw, baw"

We had a chance to see one tiny example of how pain sometimes can be good. Our little boy was left without the use of his arm...went through some pain...and now can point, pick up, catch or hug with his left arm. Without pain we wouldn't be motivated to get our teeth fixed, go to the doctor, stop doing destructive things to our bodies. Pain can be good on occasion.

It was just sad to see a little kid not being able to live that freed up, run around with his arms flailing, not knowing where he's going - unabashed joyous kid sprint.

I see the same kinds of things every day with people not living out their lives in a way that ultimately brings them life. I see them following the rules as stated on tv - and the ridiculously destructive things those characters do, just can't be solved in a half hour. People are walking around in pain and don't know why.

Ultimately it comes down to us making poor decisions and those around us making poor decisions. My friend who was mugged wasn't in pain because of something she had done, but because someone wanted money more than they cared about her safety. I don't think that mugging is shown in a positive light on tv, but I guarantee that mugger was surrounded by people who taught him it was ok to steal. That rich girl doesn't need more money to buy more clothes, she has plenty - why don't you get yours? You hear that enough, maybe you start believing it.

I hear all the time that "as long as it's not hurting anyone" or "it's my life" or "I'm just having fun" - you even hear parents, "as long as you're happy" Really? That's your advice? I've never been so happy ever since I learned that I can sleep around with no consequences to my emotional or physical well being. I've never been so happy ever since I remembered that I can take things from people who don't really deserve them in the first place.

I can do what I want and there are no consequences! I can prove it - I saw it on an episode of Friends.

I'm not saying that all of this is being glamorized on tv - it's too obvious that some things are wrong. (you're not going to see Chandler robbing banks) There are just BOATLOADS of examples of things that to some are obviously wrong...but because it's arguably ok ("who is this really hurting?") to folks who are just used to it by now - they don't see how destructive it can be.

If you grow up in a society where women are oppressed, you'll probably accept that as true. If you grow up in a society where just about anything is good, as long as you feel good about it...then you'll accept that as true. I've had educated people explain to me that if "you believe it's true, than it is...for you" So it's ok? I can just do what I want?

Without any pain, this cycle would just keep going and going...and we would spiral so fast, it know....make your head spin.

Pain isn't always good. We feel pain on occasion because of the problems in other people's lives.

I'm just glad the doctor popped his elbow back in.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

we never had to teach our kids how to say "mine!"

A friend of mine got mugged the other day. She's five foot nothing and weighs less than my shoes. Imagine someone picking on your little sister...nice.

I see someone walking into the store and pause to throw their cigarette on the ground and stomp it out, "someone else will clean this up" They don't say it audibly, but that's the attitude. It's either that, or "who cares if this place turns into a big ashtray." I'm not going to rant against smoking (smoke up Johnny) but throw the things in an ashtray and empty them every once in a while. Out planet is rapidly becoming one big trash can.

People are basically good.

We have a couple of high schools that have their graduation ceremonies here at the church. After one school had theirs, the facilities guys were spending the next couple of days cleaning out the place. They found 12 diapers in the parking lot...used. Nice. "Someone else will clean this up"

Deep down, they're good people.

We're at war. People are starving. The jails are overcrowded.

"He's a good kid once you really get to know him"

Pride, anger, jealousy, envy, distrust, corruption...I'm sick of the innocent being taken advantage of. I'm tired of hearing of injustice. I want to throw up when I look at parking lots and roadsides filled with McDonald's wrappers. I can't handle another story of a child being murdered (thousands a day).

We don't need a redeemer?
We can do it on our own?

How we doing so far?

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Labor Day

What better day to celebrate hard working Americans than by taking the day off? "Today is Labor day - we will celebrate how hard working men and women do their best at their respective jobs in and watching tv."

I think this is perfect. It couldn't be more beautiful. We really don't get enough days off. A friend of mine gets weekends off, three weeks vacation, 8 "official" holidays off, 5 "personal" holidays, 10 sick days, and occasionally has to work. Life is tough. He needs a day to celebrate his labor.

I could see having a day for women who go through labor. You have a baby and probably deserve one day off a year as much as we need a day off a year for showing up at our jobs.

Let's take this same mind set into the rest of our holidays. Let's take down our flags on the 4th of July. Go around the table at thanksgiving telling everyone about why they bug you. Spend New Years Day listing all of the things you regretted about last year. Spend Christmas immersed in consumerism and excess (oops).

As for me, I'm going to remember all those who have gone through true labor - my mom, Annie, Grandma(s) and the mom from Eight is Enough.

Friday, September 01, 2006

sarcasm....drip, drip, drip

Dear Anonymous,
I've always admired your candor and the carefree expression of your innermost thoughts. I've also noticed that being anonymous frees you up to not have to filter what you're saying. I've met a few people like you in the past, they're freed up to say and do whatever pops into their minds. You love those folks who left no thought unexpressed, especially when it's through an unsigned note.

Sure, there are those that think blasting someone's thoughts anonymously is sort of a cowardly thing to do, but I'm going to stand up for your right to lob insults from afar. I think there's even something to be admired about someone who arrives under the veil of darkness and leaves a little verbal pipe bomb in someone's e-mailbox.

I know there are people who back their words up with their name - and they take accountability for their words - but who needs that kind of hassle? How are you expected to totally change your mind without feeling stupid because you were dumb enough to put a name next your idea? It's insane.

Accountability is overrated. Anonymity is the new answerability.

Imagine a nameless/faceless society where everything was done over the phone or internet and nobody really interfaced at all!

Bravo anonymous, for inspiring us all with your wisdom. Thank you for your witty little remarks. Bless you my child, whomever you are, for your insight into conversations previously left unresolved!

and man, do you get around...