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Blast from the Past

Grand Finale Night - I don't really like any of the bands that much, but Juice Newton and Animotion sounds good so far.

Post-performance Update: Well, that was pretty much a waste of an hour. Man, they stunk. There have been better nights and performances. Thumbs down tonight, and we're all dumber for having participated. Who won? Who cares?

'Cast This

Yet another technological bandwagon to jump on. As soon as I can figure out how to do this podcast thing and do it well - like in my non-existent "free time" from our non-existent in-house studio - I'm totally going to make a radio-type broadcast to podcast to the unsuspecting public. I still say that being a DJ in the late 80s was the best job I ever had, and now the internet has caught up to that dream job.

Right now, I'm downloading podcasts through iTunes, all kinds of nifty labels. I'll try to update this post I've listed sites with the feeds later on for all you tech podcast gurus surfing through here. I already told my wife that this is probably a reason why I DO NOT need to get an iPod or an iPod Shuffle for my birthday. Here's some of my highlights today:What kinds of things would you want to listen to in a Caffeinated Adventures podcast?

Statistically Speaking...

Take the MIT Weblog Survey

Saw this floating around, specifically clicked through at Julie's site.

Humidity & Leadership

Wow, it's warm outside - and it's supposed to be getting warmer and muggier as the day goes on. The next few weeks are why people move away from South Carolina. the winters are mild and the rest of the year is just fine. But for these summer months it would be death out there without A/C and ice tea.

I was reading 2 Kings 5 last night before heading upstairs for bed. I've got a note in the margins: "key to great leadership - travel with someone who challenges you". In this story, Naaman has a young servant girl who challenges him to see Elisha about his skin condition. Then when Elisha gives direction, Naaman is challenged again by his men to follow through. And for Elisha, the challenge of having Gehazi as a servant kept the prophet on his toes, I'm sure. The role-model leaders I've known will stop and listen to the challenge and critique of those following alongside. And to an extent they will also deal with the extra-grace-and-discipline-needing-problem-people who make life more interesting.

It's already 78F with a heat index of 83F. Anyone bringing me some ice tea?


Favorite Snap

This was taken some time last autumn, and I thought it just turned out really well in B&W. Short evening post, headache "mostly" gone, and time hose off the younglings.




Coffee Our Way

Following up from yesterday...

Our favorite blend is Starbucks' Christmas Blend (seasonal availability, dang it!), with my wife liking Breakfast Blend as a second choice, while I tend to steer towards the "bold" blends. This morning, I opened a fresh bag of Beach Blend from Joe Muggs/Books-A-Million - not bad, and as I posted earlier, very smooth. Here's the brew-a-pot routine:
  • Grind beans fresh - if you're getting your coffee out of a can or a brick bag, you've already lost most of the flavor and all of the smell.
  • Two scoops - whatever your scoop-size, whatever the pot size, experiment with two scoops. Heaping if you think that's too weak, level or a scoop and a half if it's too strong. For me, two heaping scoops, or two level scoops and a tad extra.
  • Don't over fill the pot - enough water to brew with enough coffee.
  • Brew - our normal drip coffeepot is fine. If we've got time, I'll pull out the french press, which makes a smoother and less-bitter pot of coffee. But drip is fine for every day.
  • Flavor - I take a little flavored-creamer with mine, preferring the vanilla or nutty tastes, but not so much that I can't taste the coffee. No other sweetener for me, but my wife takes two pink packets and the creamer, preferring "southern pecan" to the vanilla varieties.
  • Mug - whether it's a travel mug or a nice ceramic mug, you can't properly drink coffee in anything too girly or too small. That's just me.
  • Routine - when you've experimented and have a pattern to make the "perfect pot", remember that and do it every time. Don't slouch - grind the beans, do the pot, etc, all the same way, and you'll get better at detecting blends and such in your home coffee adventures.
Need any pointers or help with the brew during the day? Don't hesitate to IM - "rickramble" on AIM. If I don't know, I can make something up. And I'll take mine with a little cream, thanks.


One of this summer’s expected blockbusters is Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, releasing in July and supposedly sticking closer to the original Ronald Dahl book than the Gene Wilder Willy Wonka version. Tim Burton and Johnny Depp are re-interpreting the story of an eccentric candy maker and the search for a successor to his sugary empire. Along the way, we meet the surprising and mischievous Willy Wonka, his helpers the Oompa Loompas, and a group of children that have, shall we say, serious character flaws.

In Wonkamania: The Search for Your Golden Ticket (© 2005, Thirsty/Tyndale Publishing), Kris Rasmussen succeeds in taking the book and the first film, looking at the plot points and the metaphors thrown out by the characterizations, and noting some really thoughtful points concerning our lives and the way we are to live life. Yes, it’s a devotional, and yes, it’s got talking points and “further discussion”, and yes it is full of sidebar information from behind-the-scenes sources. And yes, it could have been really sappy and preachy in pointing out the sins of the children and the possible messiah-complex of their host. But no, it doesn’t go there – and as a devotional that’s different and just a bit sugary, it works to make the reader think about life, the universe and everything.

It’s easy to point fingers at the characters and be able to see in hindsight what their fatal flaws where, what kept them from ultimate consideration in Wonka’s master plan. Mike is the boy who loves television and would spend his life as a couch potato if that’s what’s available; Veruca is impatient and wants everything now now now; Violet brags about every little thing, competitive to a fault. Other characters and situations are open for interpretation and application for spiritual guidance, too. What’s really positive about this book and the experience of devotionalizing through it day to day is that Rasmussen doesn’t simply pull out the bad characteristics and the good characteristics and provide a prooftexted spiritual point or two. She digs into the culture today for current stories and applications, and she asks hard questions about what laziness really is (Mike might be a slacker, but it’s laziness plus willful apathy that brings disobedient slothfulness); about what it means to be selfish and to raise kids properly (Violet is a braggard, but her mother’s perfectionism is as much to blame); about how “good people” have their faults and bad tendencies (even Charlie isn’t perfect, showing his own shortcomings in the tour through the factory).

Without being preachy and talking down to her audience, which would be easy with what amounts to a children’s book and a PG kids’ movie, Rasmussen makes the reader think about what’s important in living life, what’s meaningful in dealing with others, and what’s fun about a tour through a candy factory that tastes good and might help us grow spiritually, too.


Editor, Anyone?

This is posted on the CNN.com website right now:

Is it just me, or could we have worded that a bit better? People, people, let's pay attention out there.

A Short History of My Caffeination

I was asked this morning in a comment: "BTW- What coffee do you use during the week? Give me a coffee review!" Hmmm, now that's a writing prompt.

A little backstory first: I've tried to think back to when I first started really drinking coffee. My guess is high school, when a few of us would hangout for old movie nights (Hitchcock, mostly - good times, good times) at our Sunday School teacher's house a couple of Fridays a month. He made coffee - and I got my first opinion about decaf being a total waste of water. Back then, a little cream and two Sweet-N-Lows would do the trick. The only flavors I ever had back them was the International Food Instant Coffee mixes - what was I thinking?!?

Wow, that was twenty years ago. I didn't really change drinking habits until the late-nineties, probably - and I was never the type of person who had to have his two-cups-every-morning. I could drink it whenever, hot or cold, as long as it didn't taste burnt. Then I discovered coffeeshops - probably the cafe' at Barnes & Noble first, then real Starbucks in the airports when I started business travelling, and a little Christian coffeeshop across from one of the high schools that made a wonderful peanut-caramel-mocha-latte-something - Vicki and I would stop there after seeing a movie on our "date nights" and get coffee and a dessert before relieving the babysitter. We bought a coffeepot with the espresso maker built in, and a grinder to start doing whole beans - I'm pinpointing this around 1996/97. Friends started sending us Starbucks beans for Christmas, and that's when I discovered that the special blends - not just $tarbuck$, but other companies, too - and the whole beans tended to have a better taste, and grinding them made a difference in the brew. I experimented a little, even adding caramel and whip cream at home, until I no longer needed to add sweetener. I noticed the flavor of the coffee for the first time - fruity or nutty, and found out that I really don't like mocha blends that much.

to be continued - tomorrow, MAKING OUR MORNING COFFEE


I made coffee this morning before leaving the house - a special gift for my still-snoozing bride, and a wake-me-up for my morning commute. It's overcast here, and dreadfully humid outside - like stepping into a warm bath. Worst part is being sufficiently A/C'ed, and then getting out of the car for your glasses to fog out completely. Ugh. But it's a good morning, feeling decent physically and hoping that the week goes by smooth and quick. Looking forward to getting some books/reviews done, getting work stuff accomplished, and having a good three-day-weekend-including-yard-sale at the end of it all. Just keeping it smooth...



Good things come in threes, or something like that. Found this somewhere surfing this weekend, and thought I'd (1) answer my own questions, (2) tag some other bored blogging fools, and (3) make a pot of coffee for the evening.

Three nicknames that you have had: Rickwell, Riki Tiki Tavi, Larry

Three things you like about yourself: sarcastic wit, coffee-brewing abilities, bowstaff skills

Three things you don't like about yourself: sarcastic wit, inability to understand women, ear hair

Three things that scare you: ear hair, Wink Martindale, the fact that "Joey" is still on the air

Three of your everyday essentials: coffee, XM radio, Bible - sad to say, probably in that order

Three things you are wearing right now: jeans, cheap $10 WalMart watch, bright yellow tshirt

Three of your favorite bands growing up: Styx, .38 Special, Genesis

Two truths and a lie: I'm not addicted to coffee; I am more of a coffee snob; I'm not addicted to coffee

Three things you can't do without: HDtv, coffeepot, laptop

Three things you most certainly can do without: shopping channels, Spongebob in any form, bad coffee

Three places you want to go on vacation: Washington, DC; taping of Late Night w/ Letterman; coffee-tasting tour of Seattle

Three things you want to do before you die: climb a mountain, get published, see Tom Cruise find Jesus

Three people you want to know these things about: Vicki, Jayuff, Renee

Vacation Past

Looking for a photo to liven the place up - this is from two summers ago @ Paramount Carowinds. The plan for this summer is to head to Stone Mountain, GA - the kids enjoyed it last year, and we can take in a few more of the historical and natural sights this time around. In the next few years, I'd like to plan something for us to Washington, DC, as the kids get old enough to enjoy the museums and history, as well as the theme parks and fun stuff, of the Capitol. I'd love to head back out to San Francisco for a vacation sometime, too - might have to leave the younglings behind for that one, let me and the missus enjoy the bay area.

Graceful Law

I was reading this post from Kevin this morning - wow, that's deep. In Romans 7, Paul deals with the Law and Guilt and Death and Condemnation.
What I don't understand about myself is that I decide one way, but then I act another, doing things I absolutely despise. So if I can't be trusted to figure out what is best for myself and then do it, it becomes obvious that God's command is necessary.
- Rom 7:15-16 (msg)
There is a center, a balance to the thoughts of grace and law, a place where we sit like Paul and wonder what the heck we're doing here and how we're ever going to do the right thing.Christians put forth the face that we've got it all figured out, but in reality we don't (I do have it figured out, of course - it's those other hypocrites that bother me).
It happens so regularly that it's predictable. The moment I decide to do good, sin is there to trip me up. I truly delight in God's commands, but it's pretty obvious that not all of me joins in that delight. Parts of me covertly rebel, and just when I least expect it, they take charge. I've tried everything and nothing helps. I'm at the end of my rope. Is there no one who can do anything for me? Isn't that the real question?
- Rom 7:21-24 (msg)
I know that Paul answers his own question in the next verse, but I also know that we don't dwell enough (I dwell enough - it's just those other people, you understand) on what makes His grace and His law truly worthwhile. The real question is right there: Is there no one on this planet who can help, since I so obviously can't help myself? We're too self-sufficient, too comfortable carrying the chains and the deadweight around. We probably need to drag that stuff a little - our guilty conscience proves we need more help most of the time. Unhealthy guilt needs to be dealt with head-on - but a dead conscience, dead to guilt and feeling the shame of sin, that needs to be dealt with, too.

Just thinking before church, blogging from the lobby.


Billy & Tom

There's a thoughtful article by Charlie Wear on the Next-Wave website, citing the differences and similarities in Tom Cruise and Billy Graham and their respective impacts on the world that's watching. Cruise spent part of the week in NYC promoting his upcoming film, and Dr. Graham is holding his last American crusade in Flushing Meadows. I watched the other night as Billy talked with Larry King, how he quietly, gently and strongly held the attention of his interviewer throughout the experience. And I saw the first half of the interview Cruise had with Matt Lauer this past week - missing the part that made the news, when he roundly criticized Matt as "glib" and trashing psychiatry and medication from his own research.

I don't know if you can simply juxtapose the two, but they have crossed paths culturally at this point in time. Both have an impact, both are standing firm on belief and faith - and yet one just seems to have it together more, seems to know what matters more than the other.

Channel Surfing

Ok, I've settled on a layout for this blog (for now).

We watched American Movie Classics last night, finding Celebrity Charades and Movie Club to be worth watching. That's saying alot, since summer and Friday means lots of reruns and not much else. We tried watching The Aviator - beautful movie, but I really didn't care for Hughes/DeCaprio as a character/actor - and Blade:Trinity - fight scenes weren't bad, but we like our movies with a plot - and then went channel surfing.

AMC was cool, and then we flipped to Turner Classic Movies, one channel up. I saw that The Caine Mutiny was on, and that Jose Ferrer & Humphrey Bogart were in the cast. I really only left it there to see Ferrer, the father of Miguel Ferrer, Dr. Garret Macy on Crossing Jordan, one of Vicki's favorite shows. We have an inside game where seeing someone or hearing a voice, we guess who that person is - and I wanted to see if Vicki could guess the resemblance. But I got into the story, and the movie was really good. We both stayed up to watch it, finally seeing Ferrer at the end as the JAG defense attorney trying to keep his client, who'd taken command from Humphrey Bogart, from being sentenced for mutiny.

I used to get into old movies, getting hooked on Hitchcock in high school, watching Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly and Cary Grant, taking a film class in college - but I'd moved out of it as DVDs and kids came along I guess. We enjoyed that, though, and now I'm scanning ahead for what those two cable channels have coming on this week - really want to see War of the Worlds with Gene Barry (1953) before the Tom "I'm So In Love" Cruise version comes out.


Spot lives the life: sleeping & sunning & making sure the couch doesn't escape.


Theater Hecklers

This is wonderful - "Statler & Waldorf From the Balcony", using the Muppets crotchety old hecklers to review movies in an online streaming format. Fun stuff, reviewing War of the Worlds and Bewitched this week.


Photo Friday: ORANGE

No, I don't have too many toys in my cubicle - trust me.


"Crash Moment"

Harpo Productions spokeswoman Michelle McIntyre said Winfrey "will discuss her 'crash moment' when her show returns from hiatus in September." / "Crash" is a film dealing with race relations. The phrase "crash moment" refers to situations where a party feels discriminated against on the basis of skin color.
- CNN.com - Luxury store apologizes to Oprah
The real moral to pull away from the movie CRASH might be that the one claiming a "crash moment" is the one needing to re-check and re-evaluate personal prejudices. Just my take.

"Family Values"

Southern Baptists have voted to end their eight-year boycott of the Walt Disney Co. The original resolution was passed at the 1997 convention on the grounds of violating “moral righteousness and traditional family values.” The new resolution urges members to “practice continued discernment regarding entertainment products,” meaning Hilary Duff albums should still be avoided … 06-22-05 - 5:38 pm
- Slices, RelevantMagazine.com
My brother can bring his Disney DVD collection out of the closet... so to speak. He'll be so happy.


"That horrible hatchet! If it hadn't been there..." - that's the quote on the commercial that just ran for this afternoon's Inside Edition. They're interviewing Nancy Seaman, a former elementary school teacher convicted of killing her husband with a hatchet. She laughed and cried during the trial, and is now giving interviews. I think the moral of the story is that we all need a few more inanimate objects to blame for our mistakes and shortcomings:
  • O.J. - "That horrible glove..."
  • Michael Jackson - "That horrible glove..."
  • Dr. Octupus - "If it wasn't for those titanium-enriched electromagnetic artificially intelligent and self-controlling arms - what rotten luck!"
  • President Nixon - "Tapes? what tapes?"
  • John Wilkes Booth - "What a terrible play!"
  • Lizzie Borden - "That horrible hatchet..." - hey, that defense has been used before!
  • Norman Bates - "But I just loved my mom's dress..."
  • Oprah - "Can I blame my book club?"
  • Snow White's Step-mom - "Well, I couldn't break that mirror, would've been bad luck, right?!"
  • Enron Officials - "Those darn stock tickers!"
  • Agent Smith - "Those darn glasses, Mr. Anderson"
  • Justin Timberlake - "Dang 'wardrobe malfunction'..."
  • Hillary Clinton - "If we'd just had a few more shred-- er, I mean, that darn shredder!"
  • President Clinton - "That horrible cigar!"
  • Gollum - "My precious!"
  • Eve - "What fruit? What tree again?"


Belonging? Busy?

I wouldn't worry too much about whether or not your congregation will get involved. Even though everyone is so busy, the desire to belong is greater than their busy feeling. In fact, this need for belonging is the strongest felt need in society. So be encouraged that you're on the right track toward meeting people where they are.
- "Three Ways to Get Small Groups Going" by Brett Eastman, Lifetogether
Maybe it's different here, but I get the feeling that "busy" wins out over "belonging" most of the time. There's almost always a good reason for not connecting, and it's almost always schedule-related. That statement just kind've jumped off the page. Good article.

The Other Shoe

I woke up this morning and got out of bed - a real feat, since I really didn't want to, since I had better ideas on staying prone, snoring, flipping the pillow to find the cold spot. The house was so quiet when I rolled off the left side of the bed, padding down the stairs behind the dog to let her out and to flop into the wingback at the PC. I looked at email, checked for blog comments, surfed a little as she did her business in the backyard. I started coffee. I took a Tylenol for the headache that was working its way up my neck and through my sinuses and corneas. I took care of my own buisness in the downstairs bath, hearing the dog's collar jingle back in through the back door and upstairs. I shut the back doors, pushed the wingback under the desk and went back upstairs. Six a.m., and I really didn't want to get out of bed.

This morning I feel the weight of encouragement and doom - at least, I feel more than that headache pounding. I don't know quite how to explain it, but if you've felt it, you probably know what I'm talking about better than I can write. Overwhelming sense of urgency, but take your time to do it right. Encouraged on all sides, while waiting to fail anyway. Not depression, but more like melancholy or pessimism or waiting for the other shoe to fall, fall hard, fall messy. I'm not really thinking about failing - but feel that it's inevitable to make that one mistake that'll cause the wheels to come off again, that one miscalculation that'll throw everything out of whack.

There's no outside influence over this feeling. I should be feeling confident, strengthened by the encouragement of the people in my life. My wife and kids are great, our church friendships are growing, work is going well, people read my flippant, sarcastic rants & stuff and like it - it's all good on so many levels. And still there's a sense of foreboding, not in a panic or desperation - like I said, it's difficult to put to words. Just waiting for and planning for and expecting something to tilt the other way. Maybe that's a good thing, something to keep me level-headed and realistic in my idealism? Maybe I need to be a little off-center, a little whacked to move forward at all in this life?

I was talking to someone last week about how the "tension" is a good thing, usually.



She finally pulled that second tooth.

Not $#*^! Fair

As bad as you think it can get, the latest news will reveal that it's always worse. Jae just posted at her SPARK site about a 9-yr-old abducted and raped, taken right off her bicycle, across the street from her house. Every day there's some new story of a child being taken away from parents, being killed, being enslaved, being raped - sometimes it's parents doing it, or a "friend of the family", or a stranger with candy. It's not fair, it's just not fair. Our children are fodder for evil, toys for adults to play painful games with I guess.

I want to get home tonight and hug my kids - and then have a lesson on where to kick, what to gouge, where to bite, and how to scream bloody murder when the time comes.

  • CNN.com - Missing scout Brennan Hawkins, 11, who was missing for four days has been found alive, volunteers tell CNN. - Finally, some GOOD news.

  • Opportunities

    this is an audio post - click to play

    I don't know why I was yelling - it was just me in the car, no one to "make a point" to, but I sound like I'm at least talking over the road noise. Go figure.

    Literally Tagged

    Tagged by Julie - books.

    Total books owned: Bajillions.

    Last books I bought: For my kids last Friday - a Cam Jansen mystery for my little girl, and the Fantastic Four junior novelization for my son.

    Last book I read: Twentysomethings, Margaret Feinberg

    Five Books that mean a lot to me:
  • River of God - Dutch Sheets
  • Divine Conspiracy - Dallas Willard
  • New Kind of Christian - Brian McLaren
  • Soul Tsunami Trilogy - Len Sweet
  • Life After God - Douglas Coupland

    ... tagging whomever else wants to play along. Leave a comment if you want to be IT.

  • 6.20.2005

    Fear & Loathing in Gotham

    We saw Batman Begins last week in the Charleston IMAX - wow. Huge story, and not just because the screen was fifty feet high. It's also a dark story, starting with revenge but rounded out with justice in the midst of hope, young Bruce following in his father's footsteps to save Gotham from itself and from the evil that would hold it in bondage to fear (Good article here on fear, courage and calling by David Zimmerman).

    For me, I think I relate to Batman on a heroic level - a guy doing his best with what he has at hand to do what's right no matter what, with a great deal of foresight and preparation. Where I tend to fall on my face is when I don't give myself time to plan, when I don't consider the outcomes of my actions, when I look out for myself before considering the lives and dreams of others. If I could envision what's happening next, discover ways to overcome those things that typically hold me back, develop a mindset that's ready for whatever comes confrontationally - I'd be Batman, too.
    In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us.
    - 1 John 4:17-19 (niv)
    The manipulation of fear and guilt does bother me a little, because I think we do that more than we care to admit to get people to do what we think they should (wow, that's a convoluted sentence). It's in politics and religion, in our homes with the kids and with spouses - throwing out threats and warnings, molding people's perspectives to suit our tastes. That side of it feels more underhanded than the rest. "Perfect love drives out fear" (1 John 4:18) - what a powerful tool real love must be.


    With all that grey, you'd think I'd be smarter, right?

    p.s. - check out this nasty little addictive site: Savage Chickens.

    Decaf Life?

    Since this comment has since been deleted by the author, I'll keep its source anonymous - but I did want to reply and say that I do understand:
    Read your profile and thought I'd comment. You say, that you can't understand why people would drink de-caf coffee? Well, this is my reason: I really enjoy coffee but am unable to drink caffeinated because I have an intolerance to caffeine. If I consume too much of it I become sick, tired and bloated. So I have to avoid it in all drinks.

    So, perhaps that is the reason some people avoid caffeinated; For a medical reason and not through choice.
    Thanks for posting that. I appreciate that for some folks, caffeine is out - medical reasons, detox reasons, gotta-get-some-sleep reasons. My reasons for grabbing that quote from John Fischer's book is that too many of us lead decaf lives, with no buzz, no kick, no excitement. Life doesn't keep us awake as much as it pushes us along; there's not an inherent joy as we find ourselves running in the rut and the day-to-day. Finding life while in the rut, reaching out for meaning and relationship while moving along - that's where the buzz and the kick comes in, if I can run a metaphor into the ground a bit further.

    Thanks for commenting, and I hope the caffeine around here doesn't keep you away.



    Vicki was asking questions tonight about those first years when we started dating, started making plans, got married and started figuring out life together. She wanted to know what the name of the cabin was that we stayed in for our honeymoon in Gatlinburg, TN. Those were pre-internet days, and we'd found our information the old-fashioned way: writing to the chamber of commerce and asking for brochures. From my recollection, the cabin was beautiful, set off the main drive by a gravel driveway, with a view of the mountain that we didn't see for four days because of thick low-lying fog. One master suite downstairs, and two bedrooms and a hottub upstairs, with the baywindow overlooking that same fog-shrouded view. It was very nice, and we will go back some day.

    She found a box in the attic that included lots of letters, lots of audio tapes recorded while she was in Japan in the fall of '89 on a missions trip, lots of clippings and photos and an unfinished scrapbook of "us". It was cool - I have no idea where "Cornbeef and his faithful sidekick Muttonhead" started, but thinking about how we started and how we're continuing on now makes me feel good. The kids weren't very interested, not past a couple of pictures and a clipping of Calvin & Hobbes - Cammi liked the veil in the box, and they saw out wedding invitations.

    Just reminiscing, if you don't mind.

    Dads, Sinuses & Nap Time

    It's been an enjoyable Father's Day. I got my daddy gifts last night - shirts and a cap from my lovely kids and loving bride. Then we started early this morning, getting up for church and spending time in Kidscoast for "Donuts for Dads" - the kids beat the fathers in the trivia drills, but that's because there were lots more kids and us Dads were more interested in the donuts, probably (and since I missed the morning sermon on the 1o Commandments, that post will have to wait 'til it's posted to the 'net later this week).

    The kids were wrapping up a series on the fruit of the spirit: SELF-CONTROL. I thought the video was really good, dwelling on the importance of doing the right thing as opposed to following our selfish whims. My first time in the kids' service, and I can tell why they like it - fast-paced, kid-friendly, and heavily interactive.

    We went to the folks' house for lunch - guinea pigs with porkchops and sausages. By this time, my sinuses were not having fun, and I was this close to a siesta. I'm sure I wasn't much fun to be around, and since I'm usually the smart mouth of the bunch - yeah, I know, you'd never think I'd be like that - everyone kept asking, "are you alright? is everything ok?" Honestly, being tired, feeling the puffy eyes, and having a scratchy throat due to the dryness and time of the year - I think that's all it was.

    Proof of that is probably the three-hour nap I enjoyed once we got home. You know how it is when your body is hot, your face isn't feeling good, your eyes are barely open, and you find that right place on the pillow, flipping it over to find the cool spot. I slept through Reteif Goosen's terrible final round and Michael Campbell's phenomenal round to take the US Open - woke up in time to see the final putts on the eighteenth. I'd say I had a more enjoyable, if less scenic, afternoon.

    Happy Father's Day.



    There's a new series starting this weekend at Seacoast, taking a look at the Ten Commandments. The first one, "Go All In", will start at the beginning: God reminding Israel that He is the God who has delivered them from bondage, and that there are no other gods out there competing for His glory.

    One of the things standing out over the past couple of years is "the way I've always thought" about the Ten Commandments. In Exodus 20, God gives Moses His TOP TEN, what we've considered to be the most important rules of life. Don't kill, don't steal, don't lie, don't use God's name in vain and others - break these and you're doomed. But a couple of summers ago, I found that they make more sense as "promises" than as "rules". Instead of feeling like I'm threatened for breaking one, I see God making certain warnings and promises to keep His children from harm, instruction for living life right. Along with the rest of the Law and even Jesus' commands in the Gospels, all of these things appear to be more about living for God than about behaving properly. They deal with inner change and spirit growth, not just outward judgments and punishment.

    For me, that's been incredibly liberating. More than "keeping the rules", I'm called to live a life that avoids pitfalls by following hard after God. That's a more exciting, more empowering way to approach life moving forward, something I'm embracing inwardly, with plenty of caffeine, of course.

    All Things New

    Just felt like it was time for a change, you know? Time to stretch a bit, tinker with the html, see what fits on the page and what doesn't. Thanks for tracking me down here - feel free to grab a cup of coffee and stick around for the conversation.