Friday, February 27, 2009

Never Eat Alone

We had a chance to sit at a banquet with a bunch of friends last night.  Today I'm going to Griffin's "donuts with dads" thing at his school and then we're having friends over for dinner.

It's an odd practice I think.

If you were to plan out a way to hang out with friends, tell stories, enjoy their company...I'm not sure the first environment you'd pick is one where you have a mouth full of gorgonzola.  Somebody at some point figured out that it's actually the perfect environment.  "But Steve, how will this work if we're all using our mouths to enjoy this delicious antipasti?"  "I don't know...let's just give it a shot."  And it worked.  Who knew? seems to be just about the perfect environment for building families and friendships.  There have been studies that show the direct links that show that a family that eats together will someday produce a child that will cure cancer or star in Full House.  You do the math.  It just works.

So I'm off to eat donuts with my favorite eight year old, and I couldn't think of a better way to start the day.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


The interesting thing about risking just about anything is that you typically fail. 
Maybe that sounds odd, wrong, or at the least gainsaying?  I'd just throw out there that if you wouldn't typically fail with whatever, it probably wasn't risky.  In fact, it was most likely the most prudent way to go.
Here's another thing that could wrankle your feathers.  Even if you succeed, you're going to tick people off with your risks.
Call it jealousy or defensiveness...but you're risking something that others aren't willing to risk.  They'd rather slow play it and see if they can creep into the position that you now sit in.  When you threw caution to the wind and did something that statistically wasn't jumped ahead of them in line.  Jerk.
No risk no reward?  That's not true either.  If you play the odds you're probably going to slowly move ahead.  Sure, if you play the odds in a silly way...or end up facing a lot of unforeseen circumstances come your way...or give're not going to move ahead.  That's not what we're talking about here.  We're talking about the statistical advantage.  Play it safe, keep plodding ahead.
I know this is the age of talking about revolutions and risk, but be warned - risks are harder, scarier and more often than not, on the losing end.

So the question is - Is this something I care enough about to risk everything?

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Peer Pressure

I've decided to succumb to the pressure of the "25 things" lists that all the kids are talking about.

The problem I'm having is that I'm really busy I'm doing a 2.5 list.

So here are 2.5 things about me:

1.  I have an excellent horizontal leap.

2.  I've never been involved in a forest fire, despite what Smoky might say.

2.5  I have always thought that st

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Adding something

Giving up something for Lent has an interesting deal for me.

I’ve talked/written about the sort of funny taste this always leaves in my mouth. Often it’s about quitting smoking/sugar/crack thing more than it’s a focusing on my relationship with God thing. It can confuse spirituality with self improvement and I personally believe that that takes it from a God focus to a Me focus. I really think this is the core of much of our confusion with faith. We make God in our image. We believe the stuff about God that we want to believe. We make him a blond haired fella with piercing blue eyes and a tenor that would knock your Birkenstocks off.

So I heard this quote and I thought this wasn’t a bad idea. Maybe it’s semantics…but I liked it.
“Maybe you normally give something up for Lent? … Instead of giving something up for Lent, maybe you should add something for Lent. Add a spiritually strategic thing to your life for life.” – Brian Tome

It seems like this would help me to start doing something – to be more proactive – less reactive – and might just propel me into some life choices or risks that would put me in a position to be more receptive to what God’s doing.

Monday, February 23, 2009

my speech

Since I didn't win last night, I thought I'd go ahead and record my unspoken acceptance speech here.

I'd like to first of all thank my mom, for whom I would not be here.  I'd also like to thank the guy that drove me here, for the exact same reason.  Wow, this thing really is heavy.  OK, I know I only have forty five seconds, so...I'd like to thank my beautiful wife, my kids, my agent, my life coach, Sags, all the wonderful people of Worthington, Ohio (Home of the Cardinals) and let's not forget the little people:
Herve Villachez - Mary Lou Retton - Cooper

This award means a lot.  Some people say that art has nothing to do with competitions and voting - that this should be a celebration of the arts, not a contest - well I'm here to tell you that they're just saying that because they weren't even nominated.  I was honored just to be nominated among these truly gifted performers, and Jack, and I'll cherish this always.

Oh, they're playing the music.  Let's all sing along...

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I just read a “the 50 things everyone should know” post on a webblog. It’s an odd blog that seems to be pushing Dianetics.    Anyhow, I was curious about the 50 things I should know and it turns out that I don’t know the 50 things I should know. Sadly I only know 44 out of 50.

You should know that I’ve married a beautiful, smart & funny woman – fathered three kids and remained undefeated in thumb wrestling for over a decade – all while not knowing six things that EVERYBODY should know.

I guess I’m sounding a little defensive, huh? I’ve never taken a class to learn how to speed read, but I like reading…so why do I want to do it faster? I’ve read books, listened to tapes and gone to seminars and I still make my family wear name tags. I’ve officially given up on learning a second language, mapquest has made learning geography largely trivial, if forced I could probably figure out sewing a button and I’ve not yet had my identity stolen…so maybe I’m better at it than I thought.

So how’d you do?

1. Build a Fire
2. Operate a Computer
3. Use Google Effectively
4. Perform CPR and the Heimlich Maneuver
5. Drive a Manual Transmission Vehicle
6. Do Basic Cooking
7. Tell a Story that Captivates People’s Attention
8. Win or Avoid a Fistfight
9. Deliver Bad News
10. Change a Tire
11. Handle a Job Interview
12. Manage Time
13. Speed Read
14. Remember Names
15. Relocate Living Spaces
16. Travel Light
17. Handle the Police
18. Give Driving Directions
19. Perform Basic First Aid
20. Swim
21. Parallel Park
22. Recognize Personal Alcohol Limits
23. Select Good Produce
24. Handle a Hammer, Axe or Handsaw
25. Make a Simple Budget
26. Speak at Least Two Common Languages
27. Do Push-Ups and Sit-Ups Properly
28. Give a Compliment
29. Negotiate
30. Listen Carefully to Others
31. Recite Basic Geography
32. Paint a Room
33. Make a Short, Informative Public Speech
34. Smile for the Camera
35. Flirt Without Looking Ridiculous
36. Take Useful Notes
37. Be a Respectful House Guest
38. Make a Good First Impression
39. Navigate with a Map and Compass
40. Sew a Button onto Clothing
41. Hook Up a Basic Home Theater System
42. Type
43. Protect Personal Identity Information
44. Implement Basic Computer Security Best Practices
45. Detect a Lie
46. End a Date Politely Without Making Promises
47. Remove a Stain
48. Keep a Clean House
49. Hold a Baby
50. Jump Start a Car

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Clearing the Air

I certainly can't make any "official" statements, but I do want to address an isssue before this things turns into a three ring circus.  Two rings seems to be our limit.

I am not, nor have I ever been, on steroids or any other performance enhancing drugs. (we're not counting caffeine, pop tarts or crack as performance enhancing) 

I can also say that I know of no one else on our staff that has knowingly used steroids in my presence or otherwise.  There was some talk during the first ten years of the church growth that this must somehow be the result of the "juice" the "clear" or the "allowing people to wear jeans to church".  We may never know.  There was no reliable test done in those days.

Over the next ten years there were some small growth spurts and some shrinkage, but we lay most of that at the feet of big oil.

We've largely leveled off for the past few years and we think that that is decent evidence that we are in no way associated with Balco or any other agency that's recently undergone the scrutiny of this fine nation.

I'll now take any questions you have.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

switching teams

I think I'm a day or two away from switching the 'ol weblog address.  A few years ago my boss showed me this thing he called Blog.  I went home and started one up with the intent of getting more "hits" than him.  That was 100% of my motivation.
It's one of the few things I've done with this sort of consistancy for this long. 

I have been ylcentreco.blogspot for this long because I was the Director of Young Life in Centre County when I cranked it up.  I recently spoke with the Director of YL in Centre Co and he told me that he once created a therealylcentreco.blogspot account.  He doesn't really care that I have the ylcentreco address, he just thought it was funny.  It is odd that I live in Cincinnati, do not direct Young Life and I type something up daily in it's name...sort of...
It doesn't really fit, and I'm thinking I'll switch it up soon.

A couple of possibilities:

1.  SJFuller.blogspot
2.  arebelpilgrim.blogspot
3.  yldetroit.blogspot
4.  saget.wordpress
5.  utube.blogspot
6.  blogspot.blogspot
still thinking...

Monday, February 16, 2009

Seth said it

"The music industry is really focused on the ‘industry’ part and not so much on the ‘music’ part. This is the greatest moment in the history of music if your dream is to distribute as much music as possible to as many people as possible, or if your goal is to make it as easy as possible to become heard as a musician. There’s never been a time like this before. So if your focus is on music, it’s great. If your focus is on the industry part and the limos, the advances, the lawyers, polycarbonate and vinyl, it’s horrible." - Seth Godin

I like the way he thinks.  People around the industry are crying out that the sky is falling...and he's gently reminding them of why they're in the business in the first place.

They'd forgotten their first love.

We didn't get into working for the church to build new buildings or to count more people.  We didn't go into ministry to organize more events.  We didn't join this mission to raise more money, give more speeches or create impressive stuff.

Sometimes along the way we lose sight of our original intentions.  We get lost among the details.  We forget our first love.

It's not too late.  Today is a new day and straining towards the future goal doesn't seem like a bad way to spend it.

Friday, February 13, 2009

thoughts along the way

-I'm spending a few minutes today thinking about the difference between a freak boating accident and a boating accident.  Seems like a good enough day to finally do it.

For me it probably comes down to a bumping, cracking and/or rusting issue.  If your accident involves a bump from another boat or even an encounter with a rock or dock - that's probably a boating accident.  If it slowly leaks and sinks below, that's just sort of sad.

Now I'm not sure what has to happen to have that escalate into a freak boating accident.  This is what I'm hoping to have figured out before I go to bed tonight.

-Have you ever heard someone refered to as a female nurse?  What's that all about?

-For my money, Juaquin Phoenix was on something and really is an odd duck.  I'm just not sure he's putting on a show.

-I saw Chris Day speak to a group of people this week.  He's good at that.  You should watch him speak at you some day.

-I'm a little worried that we're putting money in to do ham research in our economic stimulus package.  Obviously that's going to help the economy, but it's just not kosher.

-See what I did?

-Turns out that St. Valentine was twice called in for domestic violence.  I personally feel like that should be addressed at some point tomorrow.

-If loving Leverage is wrong, well then I don't wanna be right.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Goodbye dear friend...

I had just bought eight mustards.  Oh sure that seems like a lot, but mustard lasts forever.  We also use mustard on the sandwiches that we take downtown on Saturdays.  I should also mention that mustard makes many a sandwich go from dry to delicious as if they contained some magical potion.

They cost $1.09 each.  I had a handful of 50 cent coupons.  I took them to Meijer where they promptly doubled them and charged me 9 cents per bottle.  I spent 72 cents on those eight bottles and walked away with four coupons for one dollar off my next purchase (you get one for every two bottles of mustard you buy) and a song in my heart.

Oh sure there were some other bargains I picked up that day...but soon the day would turn ugly.  The dark foreboding clouds loomed over our vehicle like Perez Hilton on a red carpet.  Something was amiss.

As I was loading my many bags of groceries while making sure my two and three year old bundles of joy weren't getting run over in the parking lot, I placed my coupon binder on top of the miniature van.

You probably see where this is going...

So today I begin anew.  I will seek out a new system.  I will build a binder that would scoff at my old binder, left somewhere on the side of a highway...hopefully into the arms of someone who will appreciate him more.

Goodbye old faithful friend - you've saved me hundreds and hundreds of dollars...but you're so much more than that....  I will make binder 2.0 and she will be bigger, faster, stronger....and probably neon.  You ever try to find a brown binder on the side of the highway?

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

2do lists

I read about an easy to use "to do" list system that I'm trying out.

You take pictures with your cellular phone camera to remind you of the things that you need to get done.  Then I just look at my saved pictures to see if I've left any picture notes for myself.

For instance:

I have to remember to have a laptop at Alpha tonight.
I also will need a thumbdrive to record the talk.
I need to remember to sober up Chris before his talk.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Checking my ego out

I was reading a book last night that mentioned an "ego wall".  It was a term that I hadn't heard in a long time.  You often hear about a doctor's ego wall, but I've never been in my doctor's office.  We sit around the waiting room reading about the Red Sox finally winning a World Series, and then we go into a room with a sink and a paper covered table.

I'm not sure I've ever been in a lawyers office and I haven't seen a plaque, award, diploma or blue ribbon hanging from any of the offices around here.

I used to have an ego car.  The grappler.  I'd take my wrestling trophies apart and mount the wrestler in place of my hood ornament. (remember those?)  The strange thing about having a wrestler as a hood ornament is how often people would steal them.  You'd think you'd steall the hood ornament from the guy with the I brake for volleyball bumper sticker.

Now I'm thinking of putting a humility wall together.  I'm thinking of finding my old Spanish grades and Jr. High pictures and hanging them keep me grounded.  Maybe I can just have my bank account open on the wall with a running tally.

I just need to move my Sags stuff off the wall and make room for a few things that aren't awesome.

Monday, February 09, 2009


I think it's time Samberg and The Lonely Island guys got their own show.  Maybe it'd not be as great as the weekly digital shorts, but that's what they said about moving the 4 minute Simpsons shorts from the Tracy Ulman show to a full thirty minute show.

Kristin Wiig is without question the star of this cast.  A friend of mine said that she always plays the same character.  I should say a silly friend of mine said that.  Name one actor who has played as many memorable original characters as her, and can also do spot on impersonations.  If you say Darrel Hammond, I'll drive to your house and punch you in the larnyx. 

I've got to admit that Kenan Thompson has stepped it up a notch this year.  He's consistently caused me to ask the question, "How is he on this show?" which is several spots past me just throwing furniture and headbutting my toaster oven.  I guess that's better?

I thinki Seth Myers is peaking.  He went from uncomfortable to comfortable to good...and I think he's getting better.  He pulled off "Really?" this week solo.  That counts for something.

I miss Chris Parnell - I think he was the underrated everyman. 

Watching Steve Martin try to do sketch comedy again made me a little sad.  It's sort of like watching Robin Williams try to go crazy or be funny on a talk show like in the good old days...only with out the coke...or the material. 

I'm wondering if they've stopped trying on their cold openings.  I've heard they just throw those and the walk ons for new update together at the last minute.  They'll actually start with thirty or forty sketches and work their way down to just a few...and then throw together something to start the show.  Seems odd. 

If they did an entire show dedicated to two A Holes, I'd be ok with that.  I'd kind of like to follow those two around some day and just enjoy the show wherever they go.

I'm not sure why, I just feel like I should think about Saturday Night Live every once in a while.  It keeps me in touch with the people.

I'm on a boat...

Friday, February 06, 2009


Today is take your daughter to work day.  If you're looking around and wondering why your daughter didn't come with you today, there are probably one or two reasons why.

1.  You don't have a daughter
2.  It's really just take your daughter to work day for me

I have a bunch of work I need to get done before I spend the evening working with a group of leaders in their ministry.  I can't really take the morning off.  Annie is volunteering at Cooper's school.  Griffin is learning Physics at school...or whatever it is you learn in second grade.  That leaves cute little Parker.

So I get to spend the first half of my day with the cutest little girl on the planet.

That's not such a bad day.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


My old friend and mentor came by the Vineyard last night to teach a class.
I know this guy is great.  Annie knows this guy is great.  Not many other people around here know he's great...yet.

I was dying to hear him, but I was also a part of our Alpha class.  Sadly I missed it.  My friend Chuck did not.

He came to me after the class almost glowing.  He said that my friend was great (that makes three of us now).  He went on and on about how engaging, smart and motivational the class was.  At one point he said, "we need to figure out how to get this guy teaching more classes around here"

Cut to this morning.

I talked with my friend who started off apologizing for how bad the class went.  He wanted me to apologize for him to Chuck.  He felt like it wasns't interesting, engaging or very effective...and he was wrong.

This guy was born to teach and to lead.  He's the single best motivator/teacher/leader I've ever been around.  He was in his sweet spot, and I wish I had a chance to see him.  For him it wasn't very good, but for the folks sitting in his room - it was great.

It's good when people are working in their strengths - so what are your strengths?

Wednesday, February 04, 2009


"should I go to the bathroom real quick before I leave?"

This was the question I asked myself before I left work last night.

"no" was my answer...

"Are you sure?"  I quickly countered.

"yup - and quit bugging me" was the beginning of a long awkward ride home with myself.

Two hours and fifteen minutes later I pulled into my freshly shoveled driveway.  That was about two hours and one minute longer than normal...

There are two things you can take from this tale:
1.  I really had to go #1 when I got home
2.  Annie is the greatest wife on this, or any other, planet

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

step away from the trunk

A friend of mine often talks about his struggle to step away from the trunk and crawl out to where the "fruit" hangs out.

Swinging for the fences - stepping out in faith - grip & rip - risking it all...

There's something both exciting and rare about someone who goes for it.

It almost doesn't matter what "it" is.   It's awe inspiring to see someone step out and face failure/ridicule/danger.

I honestly don't know anyone who cares enough about the environment or going green to really go for it.  I thought I did until I got the Green channel.  It showed up for free for a month and I liked watching the show with Ed Begley, Jr.  He would often meet with people and help them to make their house more efficient.  Often times he'd meet with a couple that felt like they were doing their part...only to find out that they were using more energy than "their share".  They had their recycling bucket...and maybe some of those funny looking bulbs...but apparently that just doesn't really cut it.   In a world where doing a little makes you stand out, it was interesting to see a show about this guy who really did care enough to change his entire lifestyle...because he was willing to make more than the typical plastic bucket in his kitchen kind of change.

I know some folks that care about injustice around the world, but I can only name one that's picked up and moved across the planet to do something about it.  It's hard.  It's a commitment.  It's beyond the norm.

It's easy to "care" about the environment or injustice - it's an entirely different thing to adjust your life around pro-actively seeking out significant change.

Which leads to the question - what is significant?  At what point am I doing more than writing/talking/meeting about something - and stepping into actual change?

At what point to I gain credibility?

Can I talk about simplicity when I have a tv bigger than 27 inches?

Can I wear the cause t-shirt or bracelet if I've never really done anything more than buy a t-shirt or bracelet?

I'm not sure...I'm just sort of wondering...or is it wandering?