Currently Reading

I must say this…not everything I read is for the purpose of learning. I read to read, I read to laugh, I read because I love seeing what the world looks like through the eyes of other people, I read because I love to see what other people can conjure up in their own imagination, I read to see what my imagination conjures up through the input of other people’s writing, I love to read because there has always been something in every book of fact or fiction that I did not know before…even if it is a word that is unfamiliar that makes me dig out my dictionary, every book teaches me something. That is what keeps me reading. If I were to go blind tomorrow I would be thankful for braille and books on CD, and MP3. Blindness would not stop me from “reading” it would only stop me from reading with my eyes. Reading, to me, is second to breathing (and any other functions needed to live such as eating and hydration).

I am usually reading more than one book at a time. One of the books I am currently reading is a book called Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal by Christopher Moore. One reviewer said that “Some will no doubt call it foul, blasphemous and sacrilegious. Those people need to learn to appreciate a good joke.” I totally agree with him.

I am going to share two excerpts from the book which I think show both the humor that the author is going for and what the author portrays to be the qualities of what Christ may have been like as a child/young man:

First…the funny (beware…there is some colorful language in this book):

To get this, you have to understand that in the book “Biff” is brought back to life into current day by an angel so that he can write his “gospel” and is being forced to stay at a hotel and guarded by said angel until he completes his writings. He is fascinated at how long people live these days. Here is the excerpt that made me laugh the longest so far: (I have done some censoring of the words)

“If I do manage to escape the angel, I’m not going to be able to make my living as a professional mourner, not if you people don’t have the courtesy to die. Just as well, I suppose, I’d have to learn all new dirges. I’ve tried to get the angel to watch MTV so I can learn the vocabulary of your music, but even with the gift of tongues, I’m having trouble learning to speak hip-hop. Why is it that one can busta rhyme or busta move anywhere but you must busta cap in someones a$$? Is”ho” always feminine, and “muthaf**ka” always masculine, while “b**ch can be either? How many peeps in a posse, how much booty before baby got back, do you have to be all that to get all up in that, and do I need to be dope and phat to be da bomb or can I just be “stupid”? I’ll not be singing over any dead mothers until I understand.”

Now on a totally different note, what may be just as interesting as the author’s sense of humor is that that I think Christopher Moore did some serious study of the bible and the history and culture of the bible as well. Again, it is a work of fiction, but really, I would love for a bible scholar to read this and write about the historical and cultural accuracy of the details in the book. However…his assumption of what Christ’s personality must have been like as he was discovering how to BE the Messiah is very refreshing.

To set this up I will simply say that this is from Biff’s “gospel” in which he and Jesus have visited, by this point, two of the three wise men who came to witness Christ’s birth. (By the way, Biff calls Jesus “Joshua” saying that it is the closest translation to his Hebrew name)

Joshua reached across the table and took the old man’s hand. “You drill us every day in the same movements, we practice the same brush strokes over and over and over, we chant the same mantras, why? So that these actions will become natural, spontaneous, without being diluted by thought right?”
“Yes” said Gaspar
“Compassion is the same way” said Joshua. “That’s what the yeti knew. He loved constantly, instantly, spontaneously, without thought or words. That’s what he taught me. Love is not something you think about, it is a state in which you dwell. That was his gift”
“Wow,” I said

Yeah, I read that and thought “Wow” and so I blog…

a S.W.A.T. to remember

I love our weekly staff meetings at Granger Community Church (we call them S.W.A.T. which stands for Staff Working As Team). Today the meeting was led by our Senior Pastor Mark Beeson and we were discussing internal church things but Mark always has great biblical comparisons to current life and I am going to paraphrase some of today’s comparisons…simply because they were AWESOME and I do not want to forget them. (My thoughts in green)

Moses probably thought his life sucked when he was 39. Toiling around in the desert with his sheep all of his life. Not knowing that a year from then he would find the burning bush. He did not know that his pain was part of God’s plan. Who better to lead God’s people through, and teach them how to survive in, the desert for 40 years than someone who had spent 40 years doing that exact thing! God had a plan. God’s plan was/is good. The “pain” you are suffering through today may be part of something BIGGER and greater next year.

Learn in and from your suffering.

Everyone loves a dream…until it happens. Everyone wants to fly to the moon until you build a ship and ask for people to go. Then no one wants to go, it’s too scary.

Prepare for change, prepare for the dream.

Seed or harvest? No one given a one dollar bill would think “Yee Ha! I’ve made it! This is the harvest! Payoff for my life’s work! Time to retire!” No, they would think “seed” lets put this dollar to work. What could happen if we all thought that same way about a million dollars.

I don’t have a million dollars, but my thought was that every day is a dollar and I can make that day my seed and plant as much as I can while I am here on earth and enjoy the harvest in eternity with God.

I love this team!

2007 College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival

Okay, I need to pre-empt this by stating…all of the pictures are from my phone so do not give me crap about quality…

The College Football Hall of Fame just celebrated it’s annual enshrinement and this year I was a part of that! To be honest, ever since I began my new position there (only a month or so ago) I have been almost DREADING the event. Everyone has been so wrapped up in it that as an “Event Supervisor” they were making me nervous! HOWEVER once the big event arrived I HAD A BLAST!

Thursday evening was the VIP reception and the staff team was playing ALL POSITIONS. I for one had a part in acting as “security” while the VIPs arrived and walked across the street from their hotel in order to “protect” them from autograph seekers. Okay, have you seen me? Have you seen a Football Player? I was having a total Charlie’s Angel moment and looked at my shoes and decided that I was prepared…I have 3 inch heels and I am NOT afraid to use them! The reality of the situation is that I was just using my abilities to keep things flowing smoothly and being kind but stern to people who might approach the VIPs that night.

Friday 8am I reported for duty and was given quick instructions on how to operate and drive a scissor lift and spent a couple hours in it doing some decorating. Friday Evening was the Beach Party…There was food, and fun and music and VIPs mingling and having a good time. (By 10am I was sunburned – appropriate for a beach party right? -and was primarily on my feet until 11pm and I was EXHAUSTED and wanted to trade my feet in by the time I got home)

Back in Saturday at 7am to prepare for (more time in the scissor lift) the Parade and Fan Festival which included the celebrity flag football game, football clinic for the kids, lots of inflatables for the kids at the Kids Zone (which I DID NOT get pictures of) and the Enshrinement Ceremony – which not only was I off the clock for, I was done in time to hit the 7:30 pm service at church while the ceremony was happening, nice relaxing church.

Friday and Saturday each had autograph sessions scheduled and, for me – not being a sports fan, I found it funny when I arrived Friday at 8am to find people had camped overnight to purchase tickets to them. I don’t love anyone enough to camp out in line for them….well, maybe Jesus…but other than that I doubt it. Both autograph sessions were sold out very quickly on Friday…many people were disappointed.

One thing I did enjoy was being in the Pressbox to help make sure that the autograph line went quick and smooth. It was fun talking to these guys…by the way>>>they are HUMAN. They have families and friends and a life outside of football. The ones I had a chance to speak to are kind and intelligent, and funny. During the first session I was stationed between Frank Sheptock and Mike Rozier. Frank Sheptock is just flippin nice and down to Earth and I kept running into his sister during the weekend who is just as nice and if it weren’t for the VIP credentials I would have sworn they were South Bend residents. Mike Rozier is…funny, and quite a character. He could not open his beverage bottle and asked if I had any keys and when I told him the key he chose to use happened to be the key to a church he found it rather amusing considering the beverage. He was like the class clown for the first autograph session.

The second session I was with Chad Hennings and Jessie Tuggle. Chad Hennings and I chatted about the Air Force and he gave me some direction to help Breanna get into the field that she would like to pursue when she begins her journey toward enlistment. Did you know he had to sign a special waiver in order to be a pilot in the USAF because of his height? Apparently there are torso length limitations that they prefer to adhere to. While I was chatting with Jessie Tuggle, I found that he is now coaching high school football and one of his kids is on the team. I guess that both his kids are very good athletes (according to their proud father) and that we should probably watch for them in the future. He was very kind and you could really hear his love for his family when he spoke of them.

So many things to share, but I hesitate to blog a novel – and –though I am exhausted, sunburned, scraped, scratched, bruised, and sore…I am glad I had the opportunity to take part in this event. It was interesting and totally different than what I am used to doing and it was a great learning experience for me. It also gave me the opportunity to spend more time with the College Football Hall of Fame staff and see everyone pitch in and try to create a fun atmosphere for our community.

Driving Miss Crazy (Episode 2)

Breanna and I have had this conversation or versions of it more than once while driving somewhere:

“I want to get my belly button removed”
“It served it’s purpose, I don’t need it anymore.”
“It still has a purpose. Are you trying to be Kyle XY?”
She blathered on about after being born the belly button serves no purpose.
“It’s new purpose it to collect lint.”
More blathering
“Okay, I’ll make a deal with you. I will pay to have your belly button removed as soon as I have saved up the money to have my wedding venue built.”

This conversation reminds me of when she was but a wee child. I remember when she would accompany me to the store and would say “Mommy can I have that?” and point to whatever her object of desire was at that moment. I would say “Yes, honey, someday.” and strangely enough that always made her happy. (the item would usually end up being a birthday or Christmas present) Funny how sometimes just giving them hope is really all that a child needs.

My Story

When I first came on staff at GCC my initial reaction was “I am not worthy” and I would bet that many of my co-workers probably felt the same about themselves initially. I felt so much like a fraud that I typed what I believed was my story and gave copies of it to the two Pastors that I would be “reporting” to. This thing was (I believe)21 pages, typed, single spaced. I was certain that they would change their minds, but here it is 2 years and 20 days later and I am still here.

Today, driving into work I was listening to a CD of some worship music and the words rang true and helped me realize how much I have changed. I am ABSOLUTELY worthy of my position. It is not that I am any better than anyone else on the planet, but I realize now that I am EQUAL to everyone else on the planet. I matter and I deserve everything that I accomplish. God loves me just as much as he loves (in no particular order) Mother Theresa, Warren Buffet, Mark Beeson, Oprah Winfrey, Charles Manson, Adolf Hitler, the homeless Vietnam Vet that I see pushing a cart every day down Sample St, my children, my spouse, your children, your spouse, our parents, my siblings, etc. I am no better and I am no worse, but only by Gods gift of his Son and the sacrifice made by Christ is that true. Which not only makes me worthy, it makes me grateful (for all things), less judgemental (of myself and others), more forgiving (of myself and others) but most importantly – more accepting of myself which makes me more accepting of others.

I look back at what I believed to be “My Story” and realize that the things that I thought made me undeserving were really not as BIG and AWFUL as I thought they were. Heck, some of it was not mine to feel bad about! Were there things I wish I had not done? Yes, but can’t everyone say that?

Wow, have I grown or what?!?!

Just for Lindsay

Hey Lindsay! I know how much you wanted to be there to support your friend Taya while she sang the National Anthem at the College Football Hall of Fame’s Celebrity Softball Game, but couldn’t because you were busy being a good mom celebrating your son’s birthday (Happy Birthday Dawson!).

Taya sang beautifully…and by the way, the gentleman at the end of the line on the left IS none other than former ND quarterback Tony Rice. Lindsay, maybe you can come when Taya will be performing again on Aug 3rd, sorry I do not have all the details but I am sure she will share them with you.

Oh and Lindsay, Taya was wearing a “pirate” striped shirt in honor of Dawson’s birthday…too cute.

The View from my beach umbrella

On July 5th we traveled up to South Haven to see the fireworks from the beach. Viewing fireworks from any other type of location just seems lame to me. Fireworks on the beach make everything seem great…and somehow safer. The above photos are shots taken before the sun went down.

La Vie Binge and Purge

Last night at the dinner table Paige asked Breanna to translate “La Vie Boheme” for her. Breanna told her that she thought it meant “the Bohemian life” or something along those lines. Paige being her 11 year old self was unsure about what the word ‘bohemian’ meant. So in her innocence she asked:

“Isn’t bohemian when you stick your finger in your mouth and touch that little thing in the back and you puke?”

Breanna and Dave were quick on the draw to correct her and explain that “NO, that is Bulemia!”

….followed by roars of laughter (not at Bulemia but at Paige’s incorrect interpretation)…priceless.