Saturday, January 30, 2010

Youth Encounter

I wish I weren't so tired because I'd love to tell everyone about the day I had doing my Compassion thing for a youth event called Youth Encounter. It was amazing to be a part of, and even though there was only one sponsorship for the entire day, I got to meet and talk to some truly wonderful people.
I'm hoping I have time to share more about it all later on, but the reason why my blog has fallen into such sorry shape is because Paula and I have had so much to do with planning our wedding (which takes place in two weeks). And I'm not sure how much time I'm going to have available while we continue to work things out for the joyous occasion.

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Monday, January 25, 2010

Quote for 1/25/10

"Between whom there is hearty truth, there is love."
Henry David Thoreau

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Sunday, January 24, 2010

Quote for 1/24/10

"Friendship often ends in love; but love in friendship, never."
Charles Caleb Colton

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Quote for 1/19/10

"Our main business is not to see what lies dimly at a distance, but to do what clearly lies at hand."
Thomas Carlyle

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Friday, January 15, 2010

I think you all should know

Paula and I are getting married in a month.

Valentine's Day...

Now, I'm sure that many of you are wondering how it's possible that I only began talking about her at Thanksgiving, and we're already getting married. Let me just say, if I told you the entire story of how God brought us together, and demonstrated to us that we're meant to be together, you'd understand (probably). However, I'm not going to share that story here. At least, not yet...
Instead, Paula and I have decided that we're going to wait until our wedding to tell everybody at once. So, if you want to hear the story, you'll have to come to the wedding.

Yes. That means if you're reading this, you're invited.

Now, I doubt many of you will show. None of you have ever shown up at any other events which I've posted invitations to, why should this one be any differnt? But if you do feel inclined to come to our wedding, please send me an e-mail saying you'd like to come. Include your mailing address so we can send you an offical invitation.

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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Sorry for the delay

I will begin this post with a profuse apology for taking so long to get it posted.
I'm sorry. This should've been posted on Saturday. I'll try not to let it happen again.

OK, now comes the hard part; remembering what happened on Friday night when JT, Paula, her youngest son, Tim, and myself headed to Butler to The Net Outreach for a concert.
I do remember that there was a lot of snow. and that it took us nearly two hours to get there - when it usually takes us just under an hour.

Of course, you all know that I went in my capacity as a Volunteer Advocate for Compassion. Little did I know that there was a surprise in store for me.
When we arrived the guys from Manic Drive seemed rather glad to see us. Cool enough that they remembered JT and I, but they remembered that we had something to do with Compassion, too. And I was not aware of it at the time, but they also had something to do with Compassion. But more on that later...

We took my materials in and set up the table. Paula and Tim stopped in the cafe to get coffees for us. Things were starting out kinda slow. But they got better.

The first band come on about 7:30 - a half hour later than things were supposed to start. But they were pretty good. They were a local band called Becoming Less.



I think all of the sets were abbreviated because of the weather and the late start.

Then came our friends, Third From First. I think this is the 5th or 6th time we've seen these guys.



Tim really liked their set. He came back to where Paula was sitting next to me and just kept going on about the guitar solo on one of their songs. And he couldn't wait till everything was over so he could talk to them.
This was a high point for me because I really wanted him to have fun with us. He did.

Next up was Burning Yesterday. A more hardcore band, but not a screaming metal band, though Paula thinks they were....









Tim really liked these guys too. And once again I was happy to hear it because I wanted to know he was really enjoying the show.

Finally came the main act, Manic Drive.













Now, I have to say this first. I made sure to get video of their intro, because last year's intro was so cool and funny. And this year's was even better. Unfortunately, the video won't load into a post, so I can't let anyone see it. But I'll tell everyone a little bit about it.
They basically made fun of the book/movie series, Twilight, by describing themselves as vampires and poking fun at the movies while doing it. It was pretty cool.
They did an excellent set. Tim loved the way the guitarist did the robot while he played.
They even added their funky wind-sock guys (see pics above) to the show. But they added something else that kinda took me by surprise - a Compassion presentation.
They had been told that there hadn't been enough notice to get any Compassion volunteers to the show, but this is already my monthly gig. So when I showed up, and they remembered me from last year and being their neighbor at the Moraine State Park Summer Festival, they were excited to know that Compassion actually did manage to get a couple of volunteers there on such short notice.
They did a packet pass. I handed out 6 child packets and got two sponsorships, two guys came up and admitted they couldn't afford it right now, but they wanted to now if they could go online when they could afford it.

After the shows were done Tim got posters and autographs from all of the bands. I talked to the guys from Becoming Less because they collectively sponsored a child. I told themI'd gladly bring a table to any of their shows if they'd like that. They seemed a bit interested. So I may have more gigs to set up at in the future.
Then the guys from Manic Drive came over to thank me for showing up with such short notice. That's when I told them I had already arranged to be there each month, so it worked out great for us both. It was good to just talk to them a little bit about their involvement with Compassion. And I told them I was glad they did the presentation because that helps me with my ministry too.
We wrapped things up around 12:00 and headed back out into the snow for a cautious 1 1/2 hour ride home. But I'd have to say it was well worth the trip, both ways. Tim and Paula both got to experience their first concert. Paula got to watch me do my thing for Compassion. JT realized that all of the local bands know us - and are fans of his podcast. And me, I got to do my ministry with people I love. What a way to kick off the new year...
Who could ask for more?

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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Quote for 1/13/10

"There is never time in the future in which we will work out our salvation. The challenge is in the moment; the time is always now."
James Baldwin

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Friday, January 08, 2010

Quote for 1/8/10

"The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not to worry about the future, or not to anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly."
Buddha

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Out-n-about again

Despite the nasty weather - the cold and the snow overabounding - JT, Paula and I are braving the elements to see Manic Drive, Third From First, and a couple of other local bands at The Net Outreach tonight. It's gonna be a lot colder this time than the last time we saw these two bands together...

Our first concert of 2010. Paula's first concert, ever! Pretty cool! And I will be setting up a table for Compassion. I'll also make sure to get some pics to share with everyone later on.

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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Testify

I had a really cool experience at work today that truly reflects my calling and demonstrates for me the direction that God has been leading me into for several months now.
The whole event actually began as I woke up early this morning from a rather disturbing dream. For some odd reason, in my dream, I was running late for work. Not only is this unusual for me, it's one of those things that really gets me agitated.
To briefly explain, there are two reasons why being late for work is so disturbing to me. First, because I am the kind of person who makes sure to have plenty of time to get somewhere - no matter where I may be going. I don't like being late. And I don't understand how some people can be habitually late for anything. I see it as a character flaw; an inability to properly manage one's time. It also demonstrates a lack of commitment to keep an appointed time. Which always leaves me wondering what else might such a person lack commitment to...
But enough on that.
The second reason why being late to work is so disturbing to me is because I'm a man. And as a man, there is a part of my identity that is wrapped up in my work. Men tend to identify more with what they do than who they actually are. When men meet for the first time in social settings one of the first questions most commonly discussed is "What do you do for a living?" (or something to that effect). So when I'm running late for work I feel as if I'm betraying some part of myself. Being less of a man. Which means I tend to see any man who tends to be habitually late as something less of a man.
But these are just my opinions and have little to do with the rest of the story. I just needed to explain that I woke up early this morning from a disturbing dream and why it was disturbing.
Anyways...
the thought of being late to work shook me awake much earlier than I needed to be. But it's not without good reason because once I was awake the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart about a co-worker. The Spirit politely asked me to get up and get on the computer so I could send an e-mail to my friend Shaun. He had been in a car accident a few weeks back and was injured, rather severely, but was up & about and working - though in some substantial pain. And all the Spirit asked me to type was this:

Shaun,
Come see me after you read this. God wants me to lay hands on you. He woke me up this morning to make sure I knew that.
M+


And that was it.
I tended to some other e-mails to my Beloved, Paula. And I went about getting ready for work as I normally do thinking this really only had to do with Shaun needing some prayer for his injuries.
Sure enough, I get to work and go about my normal business still not too concerned about why God woke me up earlier than I had to be. I was just waiting for Shaun to come and see me. He did that shortly after my first break.
I could see that he was somewhat excited to find me, since he's not always sure of where I'll be - because I'm not always too sure of it myself. But as soon as he stepped up to me I stood up and said "Ready?" and he just nodded. So I placed my right hand in his as if we were shaking hands and then I placed my left hand on his neck and shoulder and I began to pray.

Now, before anyone get's too excited about this, there was no miraculous healing that took place. At least not any that I'm aware of. I simply prayed with a friend who needed prayer. But this wasn't really about his healing.

After I finished praying he began to talk to me about some of the things that have been going on in his life over the last few weeks. Nothing horribly disheartening, but troublesome just the same. And he has been feeling worn down by it all lately because of the injuries and some other health issues that he and his wife are dealing with. And it all seemed to come to a peak last night so that he just cried out to God for a little help. Then he comes into work to find my e-mail saying God thought his situation important enough to wake me up to get me to pray with him today.

How awesome is God to do something like that?
How awesome is God to take notice of my friend and send help to him almost immediately?
How awesome is God to pick me to be used in this way?

And this is why I testify to God's glory: His love endures forever!

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Wednesday, January 06, 2010

So much for global warming

It's been snowing here since New Years Day. That's 5 days of snow - non-stop. Every time I go outside my car is covered with at least 2 inches of snow. That includes when I leave work to come home. My driveway is buried under nearly 8 inches of the stuff since I was sick over the last day or so and haven't been able to get out to shovel. Now I think I'll just let it go until it stops snowing altogether.

Oh, and the temperatures have been dangling in the low 20's and upper teens over the last week or so. And this is happening all across the country.

Global Warming my a$$ !!! But this could be a sign of the Apocalypse...

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Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Quote for 1/5/10

"You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment."
Henry David Thoreau

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Quotes from 12/2009

Quotes from 2009

Saturday, January 02, 2010

New beginnings

So, how was your New Years celebration?

Ours was quite enjoyable.
I got home from work around 3:30 and decided to go ahead and start the kielbasa & hotdogs with saurkraut before heading off to JT's. So I arrived at JT's shortly before 5:00. We knew we had to stop at the State Store for some alcohol so that was our first stop since we didn't know how late they would remain open.
While we were on our way JT asked if I had my heart set on having the Captain join us. I asked what he might have in mind otherwise. To which he suggested picking up the things we would need for White Russians. It sounded like a great idea to me. So that's what we did.
The line was long and people were everywhere. But we still had a good time while we waited as we met a lady who was visiting from Georgia. Her and JT had a great conversation about different types of alcohol and brands of certain ones. I just kinda stood there and chuckled since I have such a limited knowledge of these things.
From there we made what was supposed to be a quick stop at Giant Eagle. JT wanted to grab some cranberry juice - just in case someone would prefer to have cranberry & vodka to a White Russian. I also wanted to spend the last of the money available on my Flex Spending Account card for some over the counter medications that are always useful (Tylenol, Benedryl, etc...). And as I once lamented that they don't accept the card at the liquor store - even if the whiskey is going to be for medicinal purposes - I had no choice but to use it all at Giant Eagle. However, once I tried to ring up the $26 worth of medications, my card was being denied for all but $8.59. Which was weird since I had checked my balance before leaving to get JT and I still had $72 available with a $30 prescription pending. So I have no idea what happened to the other $42 and the website hasn't updated that info yet.
Anyways, after trying to hash things out at the register for about 15 minutes I ended up with a big bottle of Tylenol...
So we were finally on our way back to my house where our festivities for the evening would begin. Once we arrived we set about to getting our various foods prepared and ready to serve. And JT immediately fixed us each a White Russian.
The kielbasa & hotdogs with saurkraut was already smelling good. So I popped in pizza rolls and cheese sticks while I heated up the nacho cheese in the microwave. I also pulled the shrimp ring out of the fridge to discover that the shrimp was still pretty well frozen, so we let it sit for awhile to thaw. Once the pizza rolls and cheese sticks were ready we brought them into the living room to watch our first movie, The Bourne Ultimatum.
My Beloved arrived sometime close to the end of the movie. She brought a veggie tray with her own dip and she also brought BBQ pulled pork for sandwiches - which was awesome!
The next DVD we decided to watch was Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog. I hadn't seen it in awhile and Paula had never seen it, so we opted for the humorous musical. It was fun.
This lead JT to want to watch Serenity next so that's waht we did. However, as we were watching Paula vocalized her thoughts that our idea of celebrating didn't feel much like celebrating to her. She thought we shold be interactng more - not just sitting around eating and watching movies. It's not something she's used to doing. So she asked if I would be offended if she were to call her daughter and see what she was doing and possibly join her for awhile. I didn't have a problem with itas long as we were still together at Midnight.
Unfortunately, her daughter was already in the Southside with one of her friends. Paula might have liked to join them, but had no idea where they were. So she asked if we'd be opposed to going with her. After some discussion we decided that heading down to the Southside wouldn't be a good idea, but going somewhere local for a few drinks and some human interaction woud be nice.
Our first stop was a place just at the opposite end of my street from where my house is. It's called the Rivertown Inn. It didn't look too crowded but full enough for some fun. But once we walked inside we discovered that they had a cover charge for their party. $50 per person but it was All-You-Can-Eat-&-Drink. A bit steep for us since we'd already spent some substantial cash for the food and drink we had at home. But we did keep this in mind for next year...
Instead we opted for Primanti Bros. We grabbed a booth by the bar and talked with each other. There weren't very many people there celebrating. It wasn't quite what Paula had in mind, but it was better than just sitting around watching movies. And we did get to talk more and interact with each other. So it was good.
We watched Dick Clark's Rockin' New Years Eve for the ball drop at midnight. I got to kiss someone very special to me at the beginning of the New Year. And that's something that I haven't been able to do for several years. We lingered for a little while before heading back to the house. We opted for one more movie before we headed to bed, The Matrix. Another one that Paula had never seen.
By the time it was over it was well after 3:30 and we were all ready for some sleep.

In the morning we still had plenty of food to choose from to start the day. JT kicked things off with LOTR: The Fellowship Of The Ring. That was about 11:30 AM, and when it was done it was time for me to take him to his sister's for his family's New Years Day dinner. While I was on my way home Paula texted me to stop and get Oreos. I obliged.
Once I got back we just stayed in and enjoyed each other's company, talking, praying and kissing (alot), until nearly 11:00 PM. When she left I felt her absence more strongly than ever before.

It was a wonderful celebration. Something a little different for us, but enjoyable. And I've started this year with someone very special. I am truly blessed! And I can't wait to see what else God has in store for us with this year...

Happy New Year, everybody!

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