Monday, November 29, 2004

I'm Sizzlean

my favorite character in Winnie the Pooh is that Mole that always whistles when he-phew-talks... i know how that mole feels.
I have been in the fetal postion curled around my Group 1 Insurance Study book since Wednesday night. yes, all through thanksgiving.
yes. all through the football games. all through the family visits. while Alicia was touring potential homes, I was reading away and highlighting words and sentances and paragraphs about IRA's and variable annuities and guaranteed renewals.

as of 2:30 today i popped my little mole head out of the ground and blinked my little mole eyes and an old lady named Sheryl was there and she said I passed. then she fingerprinted me like some felon, patted me on the rump and sent me on my way.

the good news? I get to start all over tonight studying for my series 6 which is part 1 of certification with the NASD (national association of swamp diggers i think)
the great news? this test is twice as long (5 hours) and twice as hard! Yeah!
(slight scurrying heard as the mole heads back underground to study and eat bacon)

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

bacon update

Bacon Flavour Fries.
Cross between the immortal Pork Rind and the incredible
Krinkle Cut Fry. From Ireland. Do I have to cross the pond to get some freaking snacks with bacon on them?!?!?

it's a secret

don't forget to post your little person on the guest map...

we are heading down to San Antonio today to be with Grammy and Pots and get a chance to go to our home church growing up and help mom (Grammy) with the Thanksgiving cooking and help dad (Pots) with sitting on the couch watching football. We are really looking forward to it. for Alicia and I, it is like coming home from work and plopping on the couch and letting out that deep sigh. my sister and my cunado will come in, either tonight or tomorrow and everybody gets along and has a great time.

Our big surprise was going to be Malin. we didn't think she was going to be able to come with us and would go with Rachael to Houston but those plans fell through, so she'll be coming with us to SA. we had already told mom and dad that she wouldn't be with us so we were thinking of ways to surprise them. Only one problem... mom was talking with Malin the other day and she asked her what she was doing for Thanksgiving and Malin tells her "It's a secret" which to her 6 yr old mind gives away nothing but to the Grammy super-sleuth has revealed all. Oh well.

Will I eat too much, be too lazy, and watch a ton of football for Thanksgiving? It's a secret.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

maybe it's just a head cold

don't know how much more i can take. feel so divided. on one hand i see the church and envision what the church could be and what i think should be. how can such a wide chasm exist. big churches and small. progressive and old-school. where are the transformed lives? didn't the NT writers look for evidence of the Holy Spirit within cities and churches to see what God was doing?

where is the holy spirit moving now? where is God moving lives and taking ordinary people and calling them out of the ordinary and into an extraordinary relationship with him? i want this for me. i want this for the church. i want this for my daughter and for all the people who see the church as rich people in SUV's hurrying on their way to church, too busy to notice them or get their hands dirty with real people's struggles.

is the church meant to peter out and sell out like this? i just can't see the apostles sitting around planning how the spirit is going to move and how they can dazzle people into becoming a member, joining one of the small groups or how they can convince the masses that they have what the people need.

don't we know what people need? what's keeping us from giving it to them? do we have to do this in some huge organized/structured way? i just don't see it happening. as often as i am frustrated by the church - i love it. i love the people and want them to live their lives to the fullest. i wonder how that will happen within the confines of buildings and beauracracies of the "church".

as i listen to other people, i realize it's not this congregation or that one. this is a problem everywhere. do you know why you here so much about the handful of congregations that are on fire with the holy spirit? because it is so rare. this doesn't make me happy to write this, but i believe it is the truth. what needs to happen? At the height of the churches' power ($ and political) what can break our hearts for Jesus and for the lost?

it is not another corporate run campaign. it is not music style. it's not better preaching. it's not something humans can achieve. who can stir the spirit of God and have him act here on earth?

have we come to a place where our sacrifices, celebrations and festivals have become disgusting to God? will God turn a deaf ear to us when we call on him because we ask with the intentions of building up our own kingdom and not His?

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

had to add this

imagine...bacon potato chips...
smells like bacon, tastes like bacon, even looks like bacon...
problem? only found in Britain.

lousy Brits. always keeping a brotha down.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

fashion tips

always on the cutting edge, thought i would provide some fashion tips for the middle aged youth workers who strive oh so hard to be hip. (amazing how that middle keeps getting older)
here are some combinations that, no matter what you read elsewhere, DO NOT go together.

1. A nose ring and bifocals
2. Spiked hair and bald spots
3. A pierced tongue and dentures
4. Miniskirts and support hose
5. Ankle bracelets and corn pads
6. Speedo's and cellulite
7. A belly button ring and a gall bladder surgery scar
8. Unbuttoned disco shirts and a heart monitor
9. Midriff shirts and a midriff bulge
10. Bikinis and liver spots
11. Short shorts and varicose veins
12. Inline skates and a walker

And last, but not least ... my personal favorite:

13. Thongs and Depends

Please keep these basic guidelines foremost in
your mind when you shop.

Jesus was smiling

i don't know if he is still smiling...i hope so but Sunday night I know he had a big ol' grin on that scruffy face.
Imagine. Chili cook-off, John Wayne's The Cowboys, Dominoes, Football and spiked Hot Apple Cider. I can die a happy man for I have achieved ministry's apex, climbed the summit of youth ministry and seen that it is good.

It doesn't even bother me that I didn't win the Best In Over all. It was just like a typical family get together, of course without the drunken fights, shotguns and my grandpa saying "I hope you can use it" every five minutes. Other than those minor failings, it was perfect.

It was great to be at a church gathering where people just enjoyed each other's company. No game show host to tell people what to do next. No contrived ways to trick people into talking to each other. Just an extended family having fun being with each other.

When was the last time I felt as comfortable at church as I do around my family? why is that? am i guarded against people seeing the real me because it won't live up to the fake images of myself I have shown them? how true is this for other people? Is the church walking around being completely false with each other?
Christ gives us unity through his death and resurrection and through the Holy Spirit we are united with all other believers. But how are we supposed to live that unity when no one but our family members even knows who we are? How can Christ transform lives that are already "perfect"? It is not the healthy who need a doctor but the sick.

Thursday, November 11, 2004

Veteran's Day and Misc.

God Bless our Troops and give them Victory, Security and the Respect and Honor they deserve!

Random things going on right now...
Sugarland Update: Alicia got a job teaching 6th grade Language Arts at Garcia M.S. I am super proud of her and she'll do great there. I don't think any principal worth their salt could meet her and not want her to teach at their school. now for me to find a job... I hear they need a fry cook at the Mc D's (finally my job experience pays off!)

Great blogosphere discussion going on at Andrew Jones' Tall Skinny Kiwi. It's about whether God is up to something in the USA. good stuff to read and see the different opinions on there from all over.

I am still really enjoying the book I have been reading "Houses That Change The World" by Wolfgang Simon. It's about house churches and the whole idea intrigues me. Have any of you out there heard about Luther's 3rd worship service for the house setting? Would be interested to see what Uncle Marty has to say about the house church.

Wednesday, November 10, 2004

Marines' Birthday

a story i got off a marine blog
Happy Birthday USMC Semper Fi!
News anchor Dan Rather, The Reverend Jesse Jackson, NPR reporter Cokie Roberts, and an American Marine were hiking through the jungle one day when they were captured by cannibals.

They were tied up, led to the village and brought before the chief. The chief said, "I am familiar with your Western custom of granting the condemned a last wish. Before we kill and eat you, do you have any last requests?"

Dan Rather said, "Well, I'm a Texan; so I'd like one last bowlful of hot, spicy chili." The chief nodded to an underling, who left and returned with the chili. Rather ate it all and said, "Now I can die content."

Jesse Jackson said, "You know, the thing in this life I am proudest of is my work on behalf of the poor and oppressed. So before I go, I want to sing "We Shall Overcome" one last time." The chief said, "Go right ahead, we're listening." Jackson sang the song, and then said, "Now I can die in peace."

Cokie Roberts said, "I'm a reporter to the end. I want to take out my tape recorder and describe the scene here and what's about to happen. Maybe someday someone will hear it and know that I was on the job til the end." The chief directed an aide to hand over the tape recorder, and Roberts dictated some comments. She then said, "Now I can die happy."

The chief turned and said, "And now, Mr. Marine, what is your final wish?"

"Kick me in the butt," said the Marine.

"What?" said the chief. "Will you mock us in your last hour?"

"No, I'm not kidding. I want you to kick me in the butt," insisted the

So the chief shoved him into the open, and kicked him in the butt. The Marine went sprawling, but rolled to his knees, pulled a 9mm pistol from his waistband, and shot the chief dead. In the resulting confusion, he leapt to his knapsack, pulled out his M4 carbine, and sprayed the cannibals with gunfire. In a flash, the cannibals were dead or fleeing for their lives.

As the Marine was untying the others, they asked him, "Why didn't you just shoot them? Why did you ask them to kick you in the butt?"

"What!?" said the Marine, "And have you jerks call ME the aggressor?!"

the shepherd's misguide

there is a commercial that plays every 5 minutes the radio and it drives me absolutely crazy!!!!
"....We don't let just anybody with a checkbook advertise with us...Next time, when you're going to be spending money shouldn't it be in a believer's store..." Gag!
The Shepherd's Guide is a "Christian" yellow pages of sorts
they market "Christian" businesses to "Christian" buyers

I don't have a problem with Shepherd's Guide, or what they do. Christians can spend their money wherever they please and if they choose to spend it on businesses that run by Christians and around Christian principles - that's cool.

But how did they ever come up with the ad campaign that says #1 all non-Christian business are disreputable (implied in the ad) and #2 Christians shouldn't spend money in a non-believer's store?!?!?! (logical conclusion of this is the best way thinking)

Do they realize that this new invention "radio" (Ray-Dee-Oh) goes out to both Christians and non-Christians? Do they care that these infidels might not appreciate the snobby way they are referred to as "just anybody"?

Maybe I'm the crazy one here, but patronizing a business could be either a ministry or an outreach. Why not view your grubby 5's and 10's as investments in a relationship that could lead to a new believer?

David Nasser
(national Christian speaker) came to the U.S. from Iran and was invited to church, his dad a strong Muslim typically would not have approved. But that day a group of Christian men that ate at the family restaurant, helped bus tables and clean dishes because they saw that the restaurant was short handed. These men went to church at the same place that David had been invited to. Later, David and his whole family, including his dad, became Christians.

We cannot view our Christian communities as self-sustaining. Instead of the "ideal Christian life" revolving around church activities and interaction with other Christians, we must take our love and compassion outside of church walls.

Obviously, the Nasser situation above is a rare exception and the Christians involved had amazing spiritual giftings that the commoners, you and I, don't possess i.e. compassion, selflessness, dish-washing and putting aside our own schedule. and even if we did by some rare chances possess those gifts, God probably wouldn't use that as an opportunity to reach into someone's life and change it for eternity. It's not like he cares about those poor schleps at the cleaners, or at the gas station, or your favorite restaurant. Or maybe He does? Maybe He thinks about them all the time. Maybe He is planning something big in their life that you could actually be a part of.

I know that they are "just anybody" one of the masses but our heavenly Father knows their name and loves them deeply.

Sunday, November 07, 2004

On the move

emotionally exhausted today. talked to the kids today and told them that we are moving at Christmas break. that was pretty rough.

i'll take a step back, Rachael is moving to Sugarland at break because of plans for her and Angel to get married. Alicia and I were faced with the decision to stay in Round Rock or move to be with Malin. and for us, there is no decision to make. I'm not saying there wasn't a struggle or that we don't feel that we are letting down both our church and Aicia's school. but when you are in a situation where you have to let somebody down - for us, that wasn't going to be Malin.

Everybody at church was so supportive and that really meant alot to both of us. Collin, 6th grade, was so profound and mature. "that's pretty tough for you guys, but you're doing the right thing. if it's for Malin, then you have to do it."
God, it's going to be tough leaving them.

here's how things stand: Alicia (always on top of things) has an interview on Tuesday for a 5th grade Language Arts and Social Studies position. I am looking for something. anything. actually, i am really looking for a job where i can work with people. your prayers are appreciated. of course my illustrious career will no doubt draw employers by the hundreds. youth worker, bean cooker and brisket slicer, insurance adjuster, hat shaper, security guard and manual laborer. almost forgot maintenance/demolitions man (anytime they wanted a new water fountain or whatever, they would send me to fix it) and camp counselor. look out Fortune 500 companies I'm on the market.

Alicia and I have grown so close through this. I have the best wife in the world. random thought yesterday. i was thinking about dying (if you drove the length of Mopac everyday so would you) and I tried to imagine what would happen right now, with the move to Sugarland. I know that Alicia loves Malin so much that she would still be just as committed to Malin as she is right now. I continue to see Jesus through Alicia each and everyday. - you can fool a lot of people in this world, but it is hard to fool your spouse. I thank God for her and the example she gives to Malin and to me.

Wednesday, November 03, 2004

"i'd rather be last than wrong"

it's such a great day, I'm singing a Tim McGraw song...cats and dogs living together I tell ya!
I realize that lately texas cooking hasn't been living up to it's sur-title "Food, Politics and Jesus" so here is a list of what I ate during the 10 hour election watch:
1 bag "frito-like" dip chips
1 container french onion dip in honor of Kerry
1 box Little Debbie Snack Cakes
1 pkg provolone cheese

Everything was shaping up like expected until Florida just refused to get close. tighten up...but not even close.
West Virginia falls to Bush right out of the gate.
New Hampshire is called for Kerry...second coming of Christ eminent
reporters are starting to get nervous, but never fear, they'll get a boost from the left coast.
the lefties go blue and still we wait for Ohio.
and wait.
and wait.
Iowa can't get it's act together.
all the states with 100 people or less can be counted (NV, NM, Wisc, etc)
meanwhile, Ohio is going strong for Bush. he has weathered cugawa county (or whatever) finally Fox and NBC have enough cajonies to call Ohio for W, but in the NOBLE words of Red Dan Rather "I'd rather be last than wrong"
He is so concerned about journalistic integrity that he doesn't want to go ahead with reporting something and then find out it is false.
I'm glad he found his scruples in time to not call the election for Bush. ABC was stuck because they had already called Nevada for Bush so giving him Ohio would have put him over the 270 margin. So they would rather be last. .
Don't worry Dan. You are. dead last.

On a side note, I actually had tears in my eyes watching Jimmy Carvel talk about the end of the Democratic (to hell with God) Secular Party. straight up the guy called it. It's over. Dems need to take a look inward and then get back in touch with the American people. But I wouldn't bet on it.

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Doing My Part

Alicia and I have our "Support the Troops" yellow ribbon on the Exploder and sometimes we even remember to pray for them, but am I really doing my part as an American to support our troops who are in harms way for me and for my family. I have to admit that if the soldiers were putting forth the same effort in Iraq that I am back home, we would be in serious trouble.
Where is the war effort showing in my life? I have to admit that sometimes I think about enlisting and seeing if they would take an out of shape 29 year old. but that's where it stops.
My grandfathers' generation, lied about their age to go and fight, while people back home went without meat and other essentials, all to support the war effort. I'm cranky when I wake up to late to get my Starbucks.
When I open the newspaper, I read all the politicals and sports before I maybe read about the recent American soldier's death.
I visited a site this morning called Soldiers' Angel and it is really inspiring. It is a mom of a soldier in Iraq that started sending letters , care packs and Christmas goodies to the soldiers in his unit. You absolutely have to check out this site. Sign up to help in at least one of the areas. It is incredible to think what a blessing we can be to our troops who are the finest and brightest that this country has to offer.
They risk their lives, leave their wives and babies behind to protect us and bring freedom and stability to a region that has only known fear and inhumanity for so long. What is more noble than what they are doing?
writing this I think about some of the boys that have gone through my youth group and others that I know who are serving or have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Allen in the spec. forces, wounded on his jump into Iraq. Derek serving in Iraq right now, joined the Navy right out of high school. Clinton in the Navy, currently in Iraq. Chris recently joined the Army, not yet deployed. Micah in the Marines on his second deployment in Iraq. Mary, mother of 3, serving as a trauma nurse deployed this month to Iraq. Most of these kids have families who will be supporting them but I think about their sisters and brothers in arms, serving in the same unit.

God bless and protect them. Bring our enemies to a swift justice.

Monday, November 01, 2004

In loving memory of Guisepi "pepi" roni

Great party! Alicia and Malin threw me a really great birthday party Saturday. They managed to keep it a secret despite my numerous attempts to trick them into revealing some morsel of information. I'm glad they didn't.
Saturday morning Alicia has us moving the furniture all around and cleaning the house like an indentured servant. I step out for a bit and when I come back into the house there are candles everywhere and this memorial to Guisepi "Pepi" Roni, loving husband, caring father and devoted grandfather. what's more there's a picture of my dad who is supposed to be Pepi. Alicia is putting on this nice black evening dress and she tells me to put on my courderoy pants a polo and my cleats. Random.
My parents show up and my dad is dressed like a cross between the god-father and Elwood Blues, mom is all in black apparently in mourning. Amber and Justin show up...Amber in fish-nets and tacky jewelry and Justin as a frenchie. totally random.
Robert and Lisa arrive as a clair-voyent and a priest.
Alicia had set up a Murder Mystery dinner and it was so much fun. We were such big dorks accusing people and defending ourselves in horrible I-talian accents. it was great and my wife is wonderful and so much more than I could ever deserve.
great birthday