Sunday, November 30, 2008

I'm home !!!

That's all I have for now. Expect me to share my Holiday adventures with all of you in a decent sized post tomorrow.
I hope all of you have had an enjoyable Thanksgiving.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

Quote for 11/27/08

"We thank you, O God!
We give thanks because you are near.
People everywhere tell of your wonderful deeds."
Asaph (Psalm 75:1)

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I count it all joy

It's Thanksgiving day.
Give thanks to God, The Almighty, The Lord of Heaven's Armies, for all the blessings He has showered upon you this, and every year. Remember His hand in you life. Remember His mercy and grace toward you. Remember His love for you. And celebrate with great joy the thankfulness you hold in your heart. Enjoy the pleasures of your family and friends at this time of rejoicing.

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Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Quote for 11/26/08

"I am most thankful to Almighty Providence for mercies received, and determined still to press the case into public notice as a token of gratitude."
William Banting

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Tuesday, November 25, 2008

This couldn't wait

I just got in from our Tuesday Night Family Service and all I can say is...

WOW !!!

The Thanksgiving Dinner was a huge success! We were joined by the other church from the community which I had mentioned in my previous post and everyone enjoyed themselves. I received many compliments on the food. We had an incredible time of fellowship with one another. It was an evening well spent as a community of believers in Christ. And worth every second that I put into preparing it all.
We had the turkey and stuffing, the candied sweet potatoes (with pecans), corn-on-the-cob, a large salad, mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, enchilladas (which JT and I refer to as "mexican lasagna") and pumpkin pie for desert. There was a basket set aside to take an offering to help cover my costs for the meal. It was more than enough for tonight. The surplus will fund next Tuesday Night's meal.
I was so thankful for the opportunity to serve in this way. And we've decided that this ought to be an annual event for our churches. And that makes me feel really great about having the idea in the first place.
I am sooooo blessed by God !!!

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Quote for 11/25/08

"Joy is the simplest form of gratitude."
Karl Barth

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Monday, November 24, 2008

Quote for 11/24/08

"Gratitude changes the pangs of memory into a tranquil joy."
Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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Are we ready yet?

I'm sure all of you are aware that Thursday is Thanksgiving. Who's got plans?
Well, I for one, have some really great plans for the Holiday.
As of 2:45 this afternoon I am done with work until next Tuesday. Tomorrow I'll be making a Thanksgiving dinner at church for our Tuesday Night Family Service. We've invited another church in the community to join us, as well. I expect to get to church some time around noon to set things rolling. I've got two 16 lb. turkeys and all the stuff I need for the stuffing. I'm also making candied yams to go with the turkey. And I might just stop at Wal-Mart and pick-up a bag or two of the frozen corn-on-the-cob nibblers. I have voluneers bringing mashed potatoes, a salad and some other stuff. This should be good !!!
Then on Wednesday I'll be taking my mother to visit her family on the far side of Ohio for the Thanksgiving weekend. We're both looking forward to this trip. Since we never made it for a visit over the summer, this one is overdue.
So, if you don't hear anything from me for awhile, you'll know why.
I do expect to get a Thanksgiving post up before I go. Maybe I'll start it tonight and schedule it to post on Thrusday morning. We'll see.

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Saturday, November 22, 2008

Quote for 11/22/08

"When the power of love overcomes the love of power the world will know peace."
Jimi Hendrix

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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Heir to my empire

If you read yesterdays Quote... you're somewhat aware that I have a reason for sharing such an interesting thought about children and their inheritance. As I mentioned, my son, Bob left a comment to one of my older posts the other day - my post about our excursion to the Vertical Fest. I don't know if Bob hadn't read that post before, or maybe he just looked at the pictures, but his comment seems to indicate that something inside of him was recently stirred by what I wrote. Which is only reasonable since I speak so highly of my son in that post - just because he's such a cool kid, and Vertical Fest was one of those breakthrough experiences for both of us. But in light of what Bob had to say in his comment I feel as if I should share a few more thoughts about my son and how we feel about each other.

Bob is a great motivator for me. I have always tried to lead by example, so he has always motivated me to be the best example of what a man ought to be. If I want him to grow up to be the best man he can be, then I must set the example for him. I don't expect him to be a man just like me, but he will have learned to be his own man because of how I live my life. Apparently, he agrees, and has learned how to be his own person, standing on his own talents and abilities, doing those things which give him a sense of purpose and calling in his own life. How can I not be proud of that (even when it gets him into a little bit of trouble at school)? And that's why I encourage him to do his own thing whenever the chance arises. And if he chooses to become a tattoo artist, then I will support him to the best of my own abilities and help however I can - even though there are plenty of others who would tell him that he needs something more sensible as a career. I tend to believe that he has chosen something that will satisfy him more than any sensible job. And this urges me on to try new things and to possibly pursue other career choices for myself in the not too distant future. Something that is more inline with what I believe my gifts and calling are. How many parents can say that their kids inspire them in such a way? And all because I have been able to inspire him to be his own person.
I also like to think I've made myself available to him for anything he might need or seek to find an answer to, even when I don't have the answer - or the best answer. I can tell that he has found this to be true. I can tell by the way we can talk about anything. And he does more than "respect the hell out of" me, because he never seems to let me down when I give him advice that he knows is going to cause him some discomfort. He listens. He acts according to his own convictions. The same convictions I've been trying to instill into him since the day he was born. I know that he does not believe the exact same things I do. And that's OK. We agree on the main things, and I have seen his spiritual gifts in action, so I know God is willing to use him - and he must be willing to let God use him or he wouldn't have the gifts he has. And I can say there is nothing more satisfying for me, as a father, and a Christian, than to know that my 17 year old son is using his spiritual gifts the way God intends him to. What more could I ask?
It would be my desire that all men have such solid relationships with their sons. I have to admit that for a few years I was worried how things might turn out for us. The divorce took a serious toll on both of us. But I thank God for the Summer that we just came through. I think Bob and I bonded in ways that made us just as much friends, and brothers, as we are father and son. It's the kind of relationship that can weather any tempest that life - or even satan himself - could ever throw at us. And I rejoice in that truth, thanking God for all He has enabled us to do together. And I know this is only the first step on a journey that will last for the rest of our lives.

Now, before anyone gets all upset about how much I go on about my son, but never mentioned my daughter. I am very proud of my daughter, too. She is still my little girl. When I look at her, I still see the little girl who wanted to make me breakfast at her little kitchen playset every morning. I still see the little ballerina telling (yelling at) her dance instructor "I'm not a redhead! I'm a strawberry blond!" I love her dearly and, in spite of the fact that I wish her situation were somewhat different, I must say that she is handling it all very admirably. Unlike some young women who might find themselves in her predicament, she has things pretty well under control. And it has lead her to re-evaluate her life and start planning for some changes after the baby is born. One of which will be continuing her education. And like my son, I will support her to the best of my abilities in any way I can with whatever decision she makes. If that means babysitting my grandson while she goes to school in the evenings, then I will be the best grandfather that I possibly can be. I mean, look how my son has turned out...

What more can I say? God has truly blessed me with great kids! I know that they're turning out OK.

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Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Quote for 11/18/08

"The finest inheritance you can give to a child is to allow it to make its own way, completely on its own feet."
Isadora Duncan

This one jumped out at me today because of a comment Bob left at one of my older posts the other day. But I'll have a full post about all of it tomorrow, since I'm about to run out the door for church tonight...

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Family-Fun and Faith

In case you're wondering why I didn't get anything posted over the weekend it was pretty much because of church.
Saturday began with our Board of Elders meeting, followed by lunch with JT at our most recent favorite chinese buffet - the one with the mongolian BBQ. Then after that we had to get ourselves home to prepare for the Family Fun Night at The Revolution Church.
Things were kinda weird this time around because of unusual circumstances. P.Dave had foot surgery on Friday, and he wasn't able to drive. So, JT and I agreed to meet everyone at Holy Trinity so I could drive P.Dave's SUV to the Family Fun Night. And that's what we did.
After we got there, and managed to get everything unloaded, the festivities began. There was plenty of food and munchies, game to play, DVD's to watch and music to listen to.





And then there's P.Dave making cappuccino for everyone that wanted one. Even with his crutches...



That's Katey sitting on the partition beside P.Dave, enjoying her coffee.
Yes, folks, that's right, our church has a cappuccino maker. How cool is that?



First up on our list of entertainment was...
Dr. Horribles Sing-a-long-Blog



If you haven't seen it yet, please make sure to take the time to enjoy it now. I only have the first half of the first act here, but you can watch the rest of it on You Tube. It's pretty funny, and done very well. The music is really catchy, but I think the ending of the whole show is disturbing.
Next up we watched Iron Man.
After Iron Man it was time for a little music. But not in the form of CD's or someone's i-pod or mp3 player. It was time for live music from some unnamed band that we're putting together.
Recently I've really felt that I should get back into playing my bass, and not just for worship at church. I told P.Dave about this a month or so ago and that started things rolling. He and Julian, the bassist who took my place when I originally left Splintered, have been feeling somewhat dissatisfied with the direction that Splintered has been heading in musically for the last couple of years. Actually, Julian has had bigger issues than that (but we won't discuss that here) and he has since taken to the drums. After I spoke to P.Dave about wanting to play again he talked to Julian, and Julian loved the idea of the three of us forming our own band.
As a result, P.Dave and Julian have recently resigned from Splintered to pursue a new direction. P.Dave will stay with the acoustic guitar.



Julian has a decent drum set-up.



What you're not seeing in the picture are the bass drum, the tom-tom and the snare. And he does a killer job using just his hands.
Then there's me on the 5 string bass.



We sound pretty good for what we're doing. And I have to tell ya, it feels awesome to know that I'm gonna get to play again, and to know that in time we'll be doing shows. And I don't care how big or small the venues might be, I'm just looking forward to playing again. I've always felt that music was a part of my calling, so now that part is coming together with the other stuff.

Oh, By the way, we're taking suggestions for a new name.

Despite the fact that we could've kept Splintered, and made the other guys find a new name - since Splintered was originally P.Dave's band - we've decided that we want to find a new name that suits our sound/style of music.
Eventually we wrapped everything up and called it a night. We hit the sack sometime around 1:30 AM.
Woke in the morning sometime around 9:30. Had Pop-Tarts and milk for breakfast. There was cereal available, but I wasn't in the mood for it. As everybody else began to rouse from their slumber we started getting everything picked up and prepared for the morning service. When we were done we packed up the vehicles and headed back to Holy Trinity. Unloaded and got under way to drpping JT off at home and then I had to get ready to go to Mom's for our traditional Sunday night dinner.
Mom and I watched the Steeler game together. It's fun to watch football with Mom since she really doesn't understand the game. So she asks questions about it, and that gives me the opportunity to talk a little bit about the game. But even better than that is Mom's absolute fascination with the game itself. She doesn't care about who wins or loses, as long as it's a good game. Now, she does always hope that the Steelers will win, but unlike so many people, if they don't she doesn't get upset about it. She just enjoys watching the game for the sake of the game - a good play is a good play, a good run is a good run, a good pass is a good pass, and a good hit is a good hit, even if she does wince when she sees it happen.
I left Mom's to do laundry and got home last night at 9:00 PM. I'm exhausted from this weekend. Now that Ive posted about it, I may just go to bed for the night.
I hope everyone else had a good weekend, too.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

For everybody's amusment

OK, I haven't done this in awhile.
Reading through some news "stuff" today and stumbled upon these gems.

Sex and God! I like the idea behind this particular story. But it's only going to be effective if both partners are on the same page spiritually. I doubt that God, Himself could've convinced my Ex to give it up more often to save the marriage.
Nah, I'm not bitter....

Artistic Currency. Follow the additional link in the story to see the pics. Some of them are pretty cool.

Chuck Norris. When did he become a conservative political commentator? Shows how long I've been away from the political scene. I'm not complaining though. The Republicans could use a little more of an ass-kicking for not standing on their principles.

OK, I'm done now.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quote for 11/13/08

"Try not to become a man of success, but rather try to become a man of value."
Albert Einstein

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Monday, November 10, 2008

Mixed emotions

It was kinda weird for me today to see snow on some cars this morning. Not mine, but a few others. It's not that I was surprised, but after last week being so sunny and warm, I was a bit taken aback by it. And it got me thinking, Christmas isn't too far away.
I realize that many of you aren't quite ready to start thinking about Christmas yet, and that's OK. To be completely honest, I didn't think I was ready yet, myself. But I think I am now. Like I said, the warm, sunny weather we had last week kinda threw me off. Made it awkward to watch the handful of Christmas themed commercials that I saw. But I'm not so confused about it all now.
Actually, last year I came to the realization that the true start of the Holiday Season begins on Labor Day, because we have successive holidays to celebrate each month from Labor Day on. I tend to believe it works out well for us since the celebrations tend to take our minds off of the gloom that seems to fall upon us after the leaves have fallen from the trees.
I'm looking forward to the rest of the holidays this year. So far, so good. Halloween went exceptionally well for me. Currently, the rest of my plans include making Thanksgiving dinner for my Tuesday night family service at church, and then taking Mom to visit the family in Ohio for the holiday weekend. Of course, I'm sure that I will spend Christmas Eve at my brother's house with Mom and the kids. And I suspect that New Years Eve will be spent here at my house, again, with JT and anyone who cares to show-up for our Annual Movie Marathon Night. Sounds good to me.

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Sunday, November 09, 2008

Quote for 11/9/08

"Those who do not risk their life for a cause have given nothing."
Georges Guynemer

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Saturday, November 08, 2008

What a night

By now I'm sure most of you are aware, from a previous post, that last night was my son's theatrical debut. And if you've read the comments to that post you'll know that a meeting was being discussed between myself and Wink. Well, both events went off quite well.
This is not the first time that I've met someone in person that I've only known through blogging, but I was still pretty geeked about it. Wink and I have been reading each other's blogs for about 2 years now. And the way we comment back and forth with one another makes it feel like we've known each other much longer. It also feels as if we should already know each other personally. So having the opportunity to actually meet sounded really cool to both of us.
What made it all possible is the fact that Wink lives somewhere out near my son's high school. So when I offered the invitation to see his theatrical debut, I was hoping she might want go. That way we could finally meet each other, and Bob would have one more fan in the audience. While it didn't quite wook out that way,the meeting still went off wonderfully.
I picked my mom up at her house around 6:00 and headed to Bob's school. I was expecting to meet Wink sometime around 6:30, and mom lives about 20 minutes away from the school, so I had the timing down pretty well. The play wasn't suposed to start until 7:30, so there would be plenty of time before going in. Shortly after we arrived I decided I didn't want to just sit in the car and wait. A car had parked a few spaces away from us and I had just started to get out of the car when I noticed that the people in that car were also getting out. It was Wink, and her husband PD, at least, that's what she calls him on her blog, but I'm now privy to his real name - but it shall remain a secret here also.
We approached each other with outstretched arms. I think we've both waited a long time to share a real live hug with one another. We've been through so many ups-n-downs in each others lives together - even if only via internet and occasional e-mails - that it was great to finally have that contact. It was long overdue. We started with proper introductions to one another, meanwhle my mother is still sitting in the car wondering what was going on. But she came out and I introduced her to Wink and we began to explain how it was that we knew each other. Mom was absolutely fascinated by it.
I had my camera, since it was my sons debut, so I managed to get a couple of pics of our meeting. I'm only posting this one.



There was another one, but we looked kinda stiff in it. I think there was a little apprehension about looking too much like we were trying to pose, and not looking natural enough. So, needless to say, we didn't look natural in it. But the one above looks like us being ourselves.
Also, when she saw my Ink-n-Fire up close for the first time she said that the pictures do not do it justice. I imagine that's why all of the bands and speakers I've met lately are so fascinated by it when I roll up my sleeve for the pics I get with them.
From there, we just had a really great conversation. Wink began by telling me "You're much calmer than I expected you to be." I kinda chuckled at that since I think I'm usually pretty calm - though I do admit that I get somewhat animated when the conversation starts to flow. But she explained that she was basing that idea on having heard only one episode of mine and JT's short-lived Geek-n-Tell podcast. Eventually I got to explain that as a form of audio media, I had to present myself as more excitable, less relaxed or calm, since calm does not translate into good audio.
We talked about a lot of different things. Wink asked how my daughter was doing. Which led us to talk about kids and society. I discussed edged weaponry with PD. We shared a bit about our individual collections. Wink talked to my mother about stuff. We discussed faith, and how Wink sees me being "pulled" in a direction, that she's been able to see it for the last several months. I encouraged her to continue to pursue her artistic calling, because I do believe - with all of my heart - that her atristic expressions are her Calling from God...
Wink even got to meet (almost/kinda) my Ex. As we were standing out in the lot talking, my Ex and her baby's daddy (that's not an intentional slight - it just seems to explain their current relational situation) arrived for the play. It made me feel a little bit self-concious because I didn't want the Ex to be a part of the meeting. Not that it would spoil it, but because I am a completely different person than the man she left, and I know she doesn't "get it". So I don't feel as if she's worthy of knowing the people that I associate with or care about nowadays.
We wrapped things up shortly after that since Wink and PD had to go, and Mom and I had to get into the play. We parted with more hugs, both of us dying to blog about this, I'm sure. And we both agreed that Jeff should've been a part of this little meeting. I told Wink I'd e-mail the pics to her so she could post them on her blog too. Then we parted ways.
Mom continued to be fascinated by how we ever came to know each other. She continued to speak of it off-non through the remainder of the evening. But we had the play to attend, so she held her musings til later.
We went inside and bought our tickets, then found our seats behind my Ex and ex-in-laws. There was an announcement at the beginning that video and flash photography were prohibited by law. So I had to wait til after the show to get any pictures of Bob.
The play was titled Virgil's Family Reunion. A story about a family of simple country folk trying to have a "semi-anal ("Don't you mean semi-annual? "That's what I said, semi-anal!") family reunion" while a snooty neighbor attempts to force them to either change their country ways or move out of the community. The kids did a great job. I mean, really! There were a couple of times when you could tell someone was forgetting a line, or there was some sort of backstage delay, but the kids who were on stage handled it well and even did some improv lines to keep things moving. Bob didn't make his first appearance until the second act. He was the police officer that was called upon to arrest Virgil's father. He ended up staying to eat so the family could still have their reunion. So Bob's appearances were scattered through the third/final act. He did great, and he had a fan club seperate from us. A few of his friends were hanging out in the back of the auditorium and they all yelled his name when he showed up on stage. It was pretty cool.
So this is Bob in character.



He had a blast. And the even more amazing thing, he had been sick all day. But he still came through like a trooper. I'm quite proud of him.
Then we got this pic together. We had to have a little fun with it...



Afterwards Bob introduced me to a couple of his friends. The one who was in the play actually walked up and said "You must be Bob's cool dad.". He saw the shirt and said "I'm lovin the outfit." I told him he should've seen me for Halloween.
We lingered a bit longer, talking to my ex-sister-in-law and a few others. Then we headed home. I dropped Mom off and came home to upload the pics and take care of a few e-mails and whatnot. Then headed off to bed.
I gotta tell ya, every day really and truly is a glorious new adventure for me!

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Friday, November 07, 2008

I'm sorry I couldn't resist...

Besides, I'm hoping to beat JT to the punch on this one. I know some of you will enjoy this even more than I did. The rest of you should still get a chuckle out of it. For those of you who don't, "Lighten up Francis!"

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To See How Empty Lives Are

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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Creation Festival: The Tour

Our adventure began at about 1:00 at the Starbucks in the Miracle Mile Shopping Center. P.Dave and I met there before heading out to Creation Festival: The Tour. Of course, P.Dave had to get something while we were there, but I'm not much of a coffee drinker, so I refrained.
The ride was pretty much a straight shot out on Route 22, and I have to say it wasn't too bad. Typically, there is some section - and usually a quite LARGE section - of Route 22 that is under construction. And, while this was still true, the traffic delays were nearly non-existent. This was my first sign that God really wanted this to be a glorious adventure.
At one point, and I have no idea what town we were in when we stopped, but I needed food. So we pulled in to a Burger King where I feasted on a double Whopper, fries and a coke. P.Dave had already had lunch since he had been with JT earlier while JT did his follow up visits to all of his doctors from his little episode in the hospital. So P.Dave only had the Hershey's Sundae Pie. Then we procceeded to the show.
We arrived at our destination, Oasis of Love Church, a bit early. Our scheduled start time was 5:00, but we showed up at 3:43. And I have to say it was probably a good thing. When we walked in the church people who were hosting the Tour were still setting things up. They knew Compassion was going to be there, but they didn't know who was in charge. They also knew they had a table for us, but weren't sure where we were going to be located. So after finding a few people who knew a little bit more, a young man told us about the containers labeled "Compassion International" that were on the side of the "Gymnatorium", with a great deal of other equipment that the roadies were still moving in and out of the building. We were also directed to our table. This was my second sign from God that this was going to be a glorious adventure.
For those of you who aren't aware, a Gymnatorium is a large building that is designed to serve as a multi-purpose event hall. It can host a sporting even, a dinner/catered affair, or a concert. Quite beneficial for any church that has one, since that's where the concert was being held tonight.
It was a really interesting set-up. The four main bands, Fireflight, Pillar, Thousand Foot Krutch and Kutless, were all out in the lobby area of the Gymnatorium, while all of the other performers, Capital Lights, Esterlyn, KJ-52, Run Kid Run, Worth Dying For, and even the speaker, Bob Lenz were all inside the Gymnatorium around the outer edges. Our table was right next to KJ-52's, and in front of the speaker stacks. And that meant we'd be able to see the entire event from what was practically a front row seat. Yeah, that would be my third sign from God that this was going to be a glorious adventure
P.Dave and I decided that the best use of our unscheduled time would be to bring in the Compassion materials and start setting up the display. Which was absolutely hilarious since I had an e-mail that I was supposed to send to P.Dave that had a link for a brief training video for first time volunteers. I didn't send it because I had a similar e-mail for JT a few weeks ago for the concert we attended, and while I sent it to JT, it didn't really apply. Much of it dealt with setting up or breaking down the display area, and even filling out the forms. And since this had never happened to me before I figured it wouldn't happen to us this time either. I was wrong. It would've applied to our situation. But it all worked out since I was there and I already had some experience with these things, so P.Dave wouldn't have had to deal with all by himself anyways.
Now, KJ-52 (KJ-five,two not KJ-fifty-two), who is actually the MC for the Tour, and is a white Christian rapper, asked us what we were doing and asked if we had talked to George about setting up. We explained that we were volunteers. We also told him that we didn't know who was actually in charge, and that I was assuming it would be Randy - who's been the co-ordinator for previous events - but that I had done this before and figured it would be the right thing to do. He was cool with that, but we found out later why he was concerned. George actually showed up shortly afterwards and introduced himself. He's also a part of the Tour, and is part of KJ's show. So KJ was worried that something had happened to George and he wasn't going to make the show tonight. A legitimate concern. But once George arrived, we all felt some relief.
George is a wirey young black man - and without this sounding stereotypical or disrespectful - I suppose he gives some credibility to KJ-52's show. But anyways, he asked us a few questions about ourselves, and whether we'd worked an event like this before. Of course, P.Dave had never done anything like this before, but I explained how I pretty much spent my entire summer working events like this. The look of excitement that came to George's face was astounding. "Good! I'm putting you in charge then." was his enthusiastic response.
OK...
Shortly after we finished setting up the display our other volunteers began to show up. It was really great that I knew two of them from Creation. Tara and Chris had both been sponsor volunteers there. Actually, Tara was in training to become an advocate, and Chris had just sponsored her first child there. Kieran, who is a grad student at Penn State, had come with them. To be honest, P.Dave and I are quite impressed with the three of them. Keiran and Chris are both still students at Penn State, and Tara had just completed her licensing as a massage therapist, and yet they are sponsors. That's amazing since it took both of us as long as it did to become sponsors. It's very humbling. But as I explain to people all the time, the reason why I am so willing to do so many events is because I'm trying to make up for lost time.
Next to show up was Heather. She had to bring her kids with her, but it was cool because they were a lot of fun - especially her daughter, but I'll share more about that later. Then came Kieth. Keith had recently been to the Dominican Republic for Compassion's International Advocates Conference. He shared a lot of great stories about the trip and even brought out his laptop to share his pictures with us. It was moving and inspiring, and I think, just perfect for getting us all in the spirit of why we were there.
Prior to the start of things, my friend Big Don came over to the table to let me know he was there. It was great to see him again, and yes, he was working security for the show. George also came back over to explain to us the general time-table for things and tell us that there would be a packet-pass tonight. He went over some brief directions and then left it all in my capable hands.
Now, just so you all know, I do have a few pics from the evening, but very few from the actual show since the lighting wasn't very good for my camera. But I think you'll be able to enjoy the ones I do have.
Everything began with a pre-Tour show. Two bands that weren't actually part of the tour, but are getting some exposure with it. First up on the stage was Capital Lights. I liked their sound. Very lively and they put on a good show for the 5 songs they got to play. The same was true of the second act, Esterlynn. P.Dave had seen them with JT a few months earlier on Kutless' acoustic tour. So he knew what to expect. I enjoyed it too.
Then the show began. Run Kid Run was on first. P.Dave made sure to tell me how much he felt they had improved since we first saw them, two years ago. And that's when I told him that JT had felt the same way after seeing them at Vertical Fest.
KJ-52 did his thing with George after Run Kid Run. It was actually a lot of fun. I was especially pleased with their Stuck In The 80's bit. A mix of song samples from very popular 80's music with their own lyrics interspersed.
Fireflight came on next. This is now the third time I've seen them this year, and I love them even more each time - though I will say their performance at Vertical Fest was their best. P.Dave also loves these guys - and gals - and even picked up an autographed poster for his daughter. Later he would explain to me that Charisa (his daughter) really likes the harder-edged stuff. I teased him about letting her jump into the mosh pit with me someday. Of course, I promised that I'd watch out for her while she's in there. I think P.Dave is still trying to process that idea...
Next up was Worth Dying For. They're a hardcore worship-rock band with a really good alternative edge. They set the mood for the main speaker of the evening. I picked up their CD early in the evening, and it's a good thing I did, because they sold out pretty quick.
It was time for the speaker to come on next, and I motioned for the other advocates and volunteers to get ready for the packet-pass. Bob Lenz shared a really great message about Heaven being better than money, food, getting drunk and sex. And he did it with a great mix of humor and seriousness. I realy respect this man for his ability to hit home with young people. When he finished speaking over a dozen young people raised their hands to either accept Christ, or renew their commitment to Him. After this Worth Dying For came on a gain for just one song to give these kids a chance to talk and pray with someone. Then Bob got up to speak again about Compassion and to encourage everyone to sponsor a child.
The packet pass began and the response was better than I expected it to be. We had all spread out through the crowd and were passing out our packets to quite a few people. I started to get to the front of the stage and Bob was looking into the crowd when he saw that a few kids in the front were looking around to see if anyone was coming their way. So he pointed for them and said "Alright, there's a big guy with a really cool mohawk passing them out right over there." So they turned to see me and I handed them each a packet. I gave away 10, and even had to get a couple more from P.Dave. I think that we passed out more than 30 packets. Not bad for a crowd of about 700.
When we finished the packet-pass there was a brief intermission. We all gathered back at the table to help people fill out their forms and answer questions for them. It was great.
When the intermission ended Pillar came out rockin'! This is also the third time I've seen them this year. And I love them more each time, too. It was P.Dave's first time seeing them, and he really liked it a lot. And, since the rush to at the table was over and the crowd was now refocused on the stage, I stepped out into the crowd to enjoy the concert. There was no mosh pit, so I just stayed out of everybody's way as I was bangin' my head. If I'm not mistaken, there was somebody there that took a brief video clip of that.
Next up, and here's where the pics begin, Thousand Foot Krutch.









They're not the greatest pics, but there OK. I really liked these guys. I missed them at Creation because I was too busy moshing at the fringe stage while they were on the main stage. And while I'm not saying I regret that decision, I think I'll make a point to see their show if they're at Creation next year. I picked up one of their CDs and I'm currently listening to it. Very good.
Kutless came out to wrap things up. Another one of those high energy bands. I always enjoy them, but this is only the second time I've seen them this year - but the year's not over yet...
Got a couple of pics that look alright if you click to enlarge them.





Things ened with a single encore by Kutless then we waited for most of the crowd to filter out before putting everything away.
As the crowd filtered out Bob Lenz came over to us to thank all of us for our commitment to Compassion - and because he had to meet the guy with the really cool mohawk...
Which worked out great for me since I wanted to get my picture with him. But I made sure to tell him that I had something even more cool than the mohawk. I rolled up my sleeve to show him my ink-n-fire. He loved it, but winced at the thought of a branding.



We talked for a few minutes and I explained to him how my son was impacted by some of the things he had said at Creation. He appreciated knowing that, as we all appreciate knowing when we're having an impact in someone's life. He asked me about my involvement with Compassion and I explained my story to him and told him about the festivals I'd done this year. When I mentioned Vertical Fest he looked at me puzzled. Then Big Don stepped up and told Bob who he could talk to about being invited to next year's.
After things were well under control I approached Worth Dying For to get their autographs on the CD cover. I also asked if I could get my picture taken with them. They joked about me having to pay for that, and their drummer said I would have to shave my head. I told him I already did - at least on the sides.
As P.Dave was preparing to take the picture I started to roll up my sleeve - since I've determined that I want to make sure that any pictures I have taken at these events include my ink-n-fire, they saw it and were imediately impressed and frightened by it.



Afterwards, Christy, their vocalist, asked how I had the cross put on there. So I told her. I think I scared her. Then I showed them my other shoulder and they all agreed that I must be hardcore to have those marks on my body. I can never deny my faith because of them.
Now for the cute little story that I don't usually get to include. I mentioned our one volunteer arriving with her kids. Well, Big Don had to get his picture taken with one of them. So Here it is.



But I'm sure you're wondering about the cute story now. It seems that this little girl managed to get guitar picks from all of the bands - all of the bands!
She was playing the cute card all night long. She just squeezed her way up to the front of the stage and did some kind of jedi-mind trick to get the guitarists to just hand her their picks. P.Dave recommended that she get a T-shirt that says "Pick Magnet".
Thins were well wrappewd up now. George thanked all of us, we all hugged one another and said our good-byes, but Big Don had one last request of me. He asked if P.Dave and I could help out breaking down the stage. Well, I didn't have any plans for today, except to sleep in and write this post, and P.Dave didn't oppose the idea, so we stuck around to help out.
Now, just as we were approaching the stage to help out, Noah, the lead guitarist from Pillar, saw me and immediately came over to talk to me. It is sooooo cool when one of the members of a band that you really like remembers you and initiates a conversation. I asked him how he was doing, and remembered that he mentioned his wife being from Altoona so I asked how the family was. He was glad that he had the chance to visit them while he was in town. He asked me about how things were going with Compassion and how many kids we had sponsored tonight. And since I was pretty much in charge of the event report I knew we had 19. We ended the conversation as P.Dave and I decided that we should actually let the stage crew know we were available to help.
We did a good job and had a lot of great direction for the guys who were running the show. Had it all pretty much torn-down and packed in various crates and boxes in about an hour. At which time we decided that we should leave since we stil had two hours of road time to get through.
Made one stop at Sheetz along the ride home so we could graba a bite to eat. I had a roast beef pretzel melt with fries and Mountain Dew. It was delicious, and just what I needed to get me throught the rest of the ride.
It was a truly glorious adventure and I am so glad I got to share it with my pastor. It was energizing and enjoyable and we bonded in a way that he and I haven't done in awhile. And that's a great thing since we're about to start playing out in our band pretty soon. I also believe many lives were changed at this event. and That's always great thing.

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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Busy, busy, busy

OK, I just stopped by long enough to say I'm on my way out the door. I'm heading to Creation Festival: The Tour, out near Altoona. Yes, this has something to do with Compassion, and I'm taking P.Dave with me this time. Since it's bigger than the last concert I went to I'm hoping to get some pics while I'm there. But if I don't, I'll still fill everybody in on what happens.
Have a great day.

Side note: correction to yesterday's post. Bob's theatrical debut doesn't happen until 7:30 PM. 6:00 PM is when he's supposed to show up to get ready.

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Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Everyone's invited

Just thought I'd let everyone know that Apollo Ridge High School's Drama Group will be performing this weekend at Apollo Ridge High School, Friday and Saturday at 6:00 PM. I forget the name of the play they'll be performing, but it's actually a comedy, something about a family reunion. And Bob is playing the part of a small town cop.
Admission is $6. I'll be there Friday night. Anyone interested in joining me for my son's stage debut, let me know.

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Monday, November 03, 2008

Quote for 11/3/08

"Autumn wins you best by this, its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay."
Robert Browning Hamilton

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Quotes from 10/2008

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Another great weekend

Things just never seem to stop for me. It's been another full and busy weekend. And ya know what? I'm still enjoying every minute of it.
As you're all well aware, from reading my previous post, I did the whole Harvest Party thing at my church on Friday night. It turned out really good. Which is not always something that we say about the Harvest Party. Being that our church is located in a somewhat transitional/economically depressed area means that we have a lot of people who just show up because what we're doing is free. And that includes food, as well as candy, gifts and prizes for the games and activities. Typically, the people who just show up for the free stuff have much less respect for the church and those who volunteer to make the event happen. In the past, without getting into too much detail, there have been a lot of problems caused by people who care nothing for the fact that our church doesn't have to do this every year, they still feel as if they're owed something just for showing up. Well, allow me to say nothing of the sort took place this year. There were no trouble-making kids or parents to deal with. And everyone who volunteered to help out actuall had a lot of fun - especially me!
So this is what it looked like shortly after things got started. More kids and parents started showing up as the evening progressed and we hada pretty full house by the end of the evening.



These are some of the kids I got to play with. We were all having a blast.



These were great kids. And they all really enjoyed watching me make my thing...



It matches my "costume", doesn't it? Everybody else thought so, too.
And it took me a long time to get this done. In fact, it took me until everything was done and clean-up was mostly finished. But all of the kids were so geeked about it that they were helping to pick out the black and white beads for me to use. Otherwise, I might still be there trying to finish it.
So, after the Harvest Party, I headed home and relaxed. Ate some candy. Hung out with Bob and one of his friends. They had gone to Monroeville Mall to do some Trick-or-Treating, and to just hang out in general, but came back to the house afterwards.

Saturday started with laundry. No big deal. But I had a Compassion event in the afternoon to do downtown, at the Convention Center.
I have to admit, it was kinda boring. When I arrived, there was nobody at the table - which is really odd. The table location was kinda out-of-the-way, in the lobby near the Info Booth. And everything had just ended for lunch. So there were a few people wandering about, here-and-there, but that's abot it. But I do have to say, I had a great view from where the table was.



You can see the bike trail running along the river. We rode it once last year. As I recall, that ride had some great pics. You can see them here, here, here, here, here, and here.






Evetually, John came out to the table. He didn't even know I was supposed to be there. So he was pretty surprised to see me. That's when he told me about the main table. The main table was in the actual auditorium, and it was such a cool set-up too. And, since there was nothing going on at the time, he told me to go on in and check things out.
Compassion set up a home-shack for this event. It's a representation of what the majority of the families, in many of the places where Compassion has programs operating, call their home. This is it.









You can see how the bedroom is seperated from the living room by a simple bedsheet.



As many as eight people may sleep in that single bed. Can you imagine that? I can't.
It's kinda eye-opening, to see how some people have to live. It puts things into perspective for me. I worry so much about my house, the things I need to do but can't afford, while millions of people all around the world are happy just to have a roof over their head. It's unsettling, actually, to think about how much I do have and to worry about what I don't have while there are so many struggling just to live. Still, I have to say it makes me that much more satisfied to be a part of Compassion's ministry. In my very small way, I'm helping out. Maybe not as much as I'd like, but I'm doing what I can - and trying to get others involved, too.

Since there was nothing else going on at the other table, I wandered around the auditorium to check out the various ministries that were there. Got a lot of "free stuff" from them. A frisbee, some tabasco sauce (Yeah, I have no idea why), a cowbell ("I got a fever, and the only cure is more cowbell."), a CD and lots of info cards. And, yes, I struggled with the fact that I was carrying around a bunch of "free stuff" after seeing the home-shack. And, in a sense, I wanted to just yell, at the top of my lungs "Couldn't we be putting these resources to better use?" But I know that Compassion uses less than 10% of their funding for "promotions", so I have to hope the same holds true for these other minsitries. If that's the case, I can live with what's happening because the rest of the resources are being used for better results.
Wrapped it up at the Convention Center and headed home. Aliesha and her boyfriend, Craig, wanted to take me out for dinner - a belated birthday dinner (see, Faith, you're not the only late one). So Bob and I got ready to go. We went to the Moon Buffet - the one with the mongolian BBQ. It was good, and Craig brought his kids along. All in all an enjoyable evening, and a great ending to a good day.
Now, today, I'm skipping church, because I haven't had a Sunday off in a long time. And I want to spend some time with Bob before I take him back to his mother's this afternoon. We'll also be having dinner at Mom's - as we do every Sunday. Then I'll come home and recover from the busyness of the weekend before I have my next Compassion event on Wednesday night. P.Dave is tagging along for this one. It probably won't be as hilariously funny - or twisted and demented - as the last event was with JT. But I'm sure it will be good.
OK, that's about it for now. Have a good one.

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