Friday, June 30, 2006

Happy Canada Day

Oh Canada. Our home and native land.
True patriot love. In all our sons command.
With glowing hearts, we see thee rise.
The true north strong and free.
From far and wide - Oh Canada
We stand on guard for thee.
God keep our land
Glorious and free.
Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee.
Oh Canada, we stand on guard for thee.

In on honor of the day, I will crave Tim Horton's all day tomorrow.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Bandwagon Jumping

But Mom, everyone was doing it....

1. What curse word do you use the most? That would be CRAP!!
2. Do you own an iPod? Yes
3. Who on your MySpace “Top 8” do you talk to the most? MySpace? I’m pretty sure I have an account (to check it out and get up to speed), but I’m pretty sure I don’t care.
4. What time is your alarm clock set for? Usually 7:15. Depends on how I’m sleeping that week and how late I was up working.
5. What color is your room? White with pink carpet. Stop laughing.
6. Flip-flops or sneakers? Depends on the season. Flip flops in the summer. Sneakers in the winter. Currently wearing the same Mary Jane-ish Skechers as Jessica.
7. Would you rather take the picture or be in the picture? Take it.
8. What’s the last movie you watched? On DVD – Must Love Dogs (with Janet). In theater – Cars.
9. Do any of your friends have children? Yes
10. Has anyone ever called you lazy? Possibly, but I’ve buried the bodies.
11. Do you ever take medication to help you fall asleep faster? What about medication to make you fall asleep at all?
12. What CD is currently in your CD player? It’s been a while since I’ve listened to anything on CD. I think there’s a Mike Bickle CD in my car player right now.
13. Do you prefer regular or chocolate milk? Not really a milk gal. Probably vanilla rice milk.
14. Has anyone told you a secret this week? Yes.
15. Have you ever given someone a hickey? No.
16. Who was the last person to call you? Co-worker.
17. Do you think people talk about you behind your back? Probably.
18. Did you watch cartoons as a child? Yes.
19. How many siblings do you have? One brother.
20. Are you shy around the opposite sex? coughonlyincertaincircumstancescoughJeromecough
21. What movie do you know every line to? Hmmmm…. Not every line, but many lines in Madagascar, Monster, Inc, Princess Bride…
22. Do you own any band t-shirts? Chris Tomlin, Clay Aiken, some other older ones that are too obscure to mention.
23. What is your favorite salad dressing? Poppyseed
24. Do you read for fun? Yes
25. Do you cry a lot? Given that I cried during the farewell to Charlie Gibson this morning, I guess that’s a yes.
26. Who was the last person to text message you? Probably my text message provider trying to convince me to text message.
27. Do you have a desktop computer or a laptop? both
28. Are you currently wanting any piercings or tattoo? Yes
29. What is the weather like? rain
30. Would you ever date someone covered in tattoos? Depends on the guy. Depends on the tattoos. Generally, yes.
31. Is sex before marriage wrong? Yes.
32. When was the last time you slept on the floor? Probably when I first moved to Boston.
33. How many hours of sleep do you need to function? Probably 7.
34. Are you in love or lust? Neither.
35. Are your days full and fast-paced? Usually, yes.
36. Do you pay attention to calories on the back of packages? I usually check the back of package for ingredients and nutritional content in general.
37. How old will you be turning on your next birthday? A year older than I am now.
38. Are you picky about spelling and grammar? Occasionally.
39. Have you ever been to Six Flags? Only for concerts. New England – Casting Crowns. Darien Lake – Clay Aiken.
40. Do you get along better with the same or opposite sex? I have some close female friends, but I think in general I get along better with men.
41. Do you like cottage cheese? Don’t know.
42. Do you sleep on your side, tummy, or back? Side.
43. Have you ever bid for something on eBay? Yes.
44. Do you enjoy giving hugs? Yes. Well, depends on the person.
45. What song did you last sing out loud? Praise You in the Storm
46. What is your favorite TV show? Right now, probably House. I also watch tones of Food TV.
47. Which celebrity, dead or alive, would you want to have lunch with? Bono. Second choice? Chris Tomlin
48. Last time you had butterflies in your stomach? A couple of weeks ago when I was waiting to hear about my job.
49. What one thing do you wish you had? Can’t think of one “thing” I want. Maybe dry shoes.
50. Favorite lyrics? Praise You in the Storm by Casting Crowns.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Lovely Details

This picture is from McNulty's, a cute tea and coffee shop in the Village. While the shopkeeper was ringing up my purchases, I was frantically snapping shots of the scale.

Something Smells

I stumbled upon an interesting blog this morning:

At first (just reading the title), I thought I might have found a jewel in the rough. Fellow marketing people that see the danger in trying to dealve to deeply into marketing in the sacred realm.

Alas, these are people who make fun of churches that don't meet their high standards for professionalism and polish in their communications materials.

Don't get me wrong. I can sometimes get distracted by cheesy, tacky or out of date materials that churches use. However, there's a problem when we start to believe that the medium is the message.

The people at this site seem to believe that it is their responsibility as Christians to spend copious amounts of money on marketing materials because we need to boldly proclaim the word of God. Now, I'm pretty sure Jesus, in using the word "boldly", was not indicating a font decision.

Yes, well done materials can grab people's attention. But, does anyone actually believe that a slick brochure for the church is a replacement for evangelism? Has anyone ever picked up a church brochure and said "These people really know their graphic design. Let me pause for a moment and dedicate my life to Christ."?


Why? Because the medium is not the message. If we think we can just pop out cookie cutter churches with software generated perfect marketing materials and the people will flock in, we're in for a shock. The message isn't slick professionalism. The message is raw humanity. It's about transformed lives and real relationships with Christ.

As a marketing/communications person I certainly understand the power of effective communication in reaching people. However, if we think our marketing and PR skills are a substitute for God, we have much worse problems than bad communication materials.

Rant over. NYC pictures to come.

Monday, June 19, 2006

I :heart: NY

Here's a picture that just sums up my day at New York City for me.

This guy was in Union Square, brushing his teeth in a fountain. Such a shock for a country mouse like me.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Be Careful How You Use the Word "Adventure"

Janet's been wicked sick and I've been feeling crappy. I've done a little shopping (got a cute Fossil bag), but not much NYC stuff so far.

Tomorrow's downtown. In 90+ heat. I think my Canadian blood might boil.

Hopefully there will be pictures.

Friday, June 16, 2006

New Adventures

I'm feeling a little deja vu as I'm getting ready to head off to New York City this weekend. Didn't I do this last year?

Taking a much needed break and heading into the city to pick up a few things (Fossil, Strand and B&H here I come!) and do some exploring. I've become very interested in urban street photography and urban landscapes, so I'm looking forward to trying it out while I'm there. I'll also be visiting Brooklyn Tabernacle, which is one of my favorite churches, so that's another thing to look forward to.

There has been a black cloud over my head for the last couple of months as I waited for some news that would impact my short term future. That's cleared up, so I'm looking forward to the chance to really relax over the weekend and just enjoy myself.

There may be new shoes involved. We shall see.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Happy Blogiversary

It's hard to believe it, but June 14, 2005 was my first blog post. The other day I went back of the year's worth of blogs and I learned a lot.

I initially jumped into the blogging fray because so many of my friends were doing it and I thought I'd give it a whirl. I didn't think I had time to do it properly, but I seemed to have fun posting tidbits and pictures.

It was interesting to see how over the year my blog developed into more of what I'd hoped it would be when I first started - a mix of thoughtful reflection, quotes, pictures and some fun asides. It's been an interesting year and I'm glad to have bits and pieces of it recorded here.

So, thanks to all who have taken the time to read this year. Thanks to those who've left fun or thoughtful comments. I'm looking forward to seeing what the next year brings.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Doctor My Eyes II

I've had my new glasses for two weeks now and have gotten increasingly concerned about whether my sight is improving and why I'm having so much trouble with photography.

In one of those eerie moments when you know God is taking care of you, my neighbor does therapy in this kind of issue. Last night she ran through a bunch of exercises with me. Good and bad news. My long range vision appears to be improving. My right eye is still dominant, but my left eye is improving a little. The problems with driving are probably just a confidence issue and my eyes being tired from working so hard with the new glasses. That's a relief.

The bad news is that my close vision in my left eye is in bad shape. Likely this is from years of incorrect glasses. Anyhow, I need to get to work on strengthening the eye and getting it to play ball with my right eye.

As for photography, she said that I might need a separate pair of glasses for that. In the meantime I'm trying some new techniques to get the pictures I'm looking for. The picture at the top is one of mine from this past weekend.

It's weird how much we take for granted. A month ago I thought my worst glasses problem was that they were smudgy. I had no idea when I walked into my local Target optical that my assumptions would be turned on their head. Now I'm looking at a series of new specialists to help me stop the degeneration of my left eye and rebuild it.

Lest I ever thought I was normal in the first place....

Friday, June 09, 2006

Friday Afternoon Philosophy

Keep your expectations low. I'm killing time before I go see Cars.

You Are Big Bird

Talented, smart, and friendly... you're also one of the sanest people around.

You are usually feeling: Happy. From riding a unicycle to writing poetry, you have plenty of hobbies to keep you busy.

You are famous for: Being a friend to everyone. Even the grumpiest person gets along with you.

How you life your life: Joyfully. "Super. Duper. Flooper."

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Growing Anticipation

One of the worst things I can do going in to a film is have high expectations. Generally that guarantees that I'll be disappointed. Most films, even good ones, fail to meet the standard of my imagination, based on the best of the film being condensed into a three minute trailer. Seriously, has any film ever been as tight/action packed/funny as the trailer extrapolated out to two full hours?

Yet here I am again getting excited about a film. What am I thinking?

Oh yeah. Pixar.

The one company that has consistently been able to meet and exceed my movie expectations. Think of the fabulous characters over the years - Roz "You didn't file your paperwork" and Boo from Monsters, Inc, Dory from Finding Nemo, Frozone from The Incredibles.... the list could go on forever. The animation is fantastic and they have somehow managed to avoid the Disney curse of finding a good idea, making it a
formula and then beating it into the ground. Each movie is distinctive and manages to be fresh. I don't quite understand the concept of talking cars. On the other hand, monsters in the closet? Superheroes with mid-life crises?

I used to be really into movies, but lately I haven't made it to the theater all that often. I'm really looking forward to seeing it Friday night. I hope I come out twirling in the theater lobby like I did with Monsters Inc.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Life in Focus

Last night I picked up my camera for the first time since I got the new glasses. There was an event at church and I wanted to get some pictures. I went through the whole evening snapping away. As I had before the new glasses, I slipped back and forth from manual to auto focus depending on the situation.

Everything was wonderful until I got home and downloaded the pictures. Everything I took in manual focus is out of focus. Not just "not quite sharp". More in the "how much did you have to drink before you picked up the camera" range. The stuff I took in auto is okay, but even that wasn't as good as usual.

So, evidently my left eye still can't see and/or focus long distances.

Disturbing. Okay, upsetting (I'm still short on sleep).

It's not like photography is my only source of income, but it's still pretty upsetting to hit an obstacle like this. On the one hand, I know I made the right choice in safeguarding my vision long term and going with the new glasses. On the other hand it's scary to lose something that you took so much for granted and not know when or if you'll get it back.

Mostly I'm trying not to panic and reassuring myself that this could just be a temporary thing until my eyes fully adjust. It has been almost two weeks.

On top of this I now have a pile of pretty crappy pictures to pass along to those who are expecting much better.

Required Bono Content

On American politics:
“The Left mocks the Right, the Right knows it's right. Two ugly traits. How far should we go to try and understand each other's point of view? Maybe the distance grace covered on the cross is a clue.”

~ Bono

Friday, June 02, 2006

Red Moon Rising

I've been meaning to blog about this book for a while. When I first started the book it was pretty mind blowing and I was just so eager to see what came next I didn't take the time to blog. Then, half way through I realized I needed time to ponder it before waxing poetic about it. I finished it about a month ago and picked it up again this week because I'm getting ready to lend it to a friend to read.

This book is amazing. Far and above the best book I've read in years. And I've read some pretty amazing books (Barbarian Way, Velvet Elvis, Bono in Conversation, i am not but I know I AM) this year, so that's saying a lot.

The book is Pete Greig's retelling of the runaway train adventure that was the starting of the 24/7 prayer movement in England. The book starts with his vision while standing on a cliff in Spain. Well, actually it starts with U2 lyrics, which is always a good sign. Goes through his personal struggles with this vision and with being called to be a prayer mobilizer when he didn't feel adequate and then through the early days of the prayer rooms (and later boiler rooms) in England and throughout Europe.

As a sheer adventure, it's a gripping tale. Just when you think things can't happen, God comes through and gives them another sign or leads them off on a new challenge. However, leaving it there would be too much of a superficial reading. The spiritual journey Pete goes through is even more powerful. Learning to hand over everything to God and just be along for the ride. Learning from the Moravians and the Celts where the spiritual heritage of the prayer movement has been. Hitting huge obstacles and trusting that God would just blow them to bits.

To be honest, I started the book a little skeptical. I had some peripheral involvement with the local prayer movement, mostly through friends. I'm not even sure why I bought this book other than the computers at Amazon recommended it. This book has taught me so much about prayer, about missions, about the Holy Spirit, about sacrifice and commitment. Just reading the book took me on a huge journey. Going through it again tonight and re-reading the highlighted parts reminded me again of where this book has taken me. It even gave some possible insight into my recent struggles with insomnia.

I highly recommend this book. It's impossible to grab a quick quote that gives the scope of the book or real insight into what it's about. It's kind of broad for that.

Buy it. Read it and let God blow the doors off your world. It will be well worth it.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Jumping To Conclusions

In the comments on my last blog Bry asked what my ultimate conclusion was supposed to be. This got me thinking... what was my point or conclusion?

First of all, I don't think the point of a blog is to publish highly polished essays. To me it's a collection of snapshots of thoughts and occurrences. It's not real journaling (not going to put that online, thank you), but interesting quotes, photos and current soapboxes. If you're looking for something to crib to publish in a magazine, this isn't it. Sometimes things won't have a point. Welcome to my life.

Second of all, one of the things I've started to learn over the last year is that conclusions are highly overrated. All my life I've tied things up in pretty little boxes. Every thought has to have a conclusion - something that is cliché worthy, if possible. Every activity has to have a point. Every friend has to fit into a category. I'm a pretty structured person.

The problem with this is that life isn't that simple or black and white. Sometimes I read a book and I don't know what I think about it. Sometimes I need to ponder it for a while. Sure, I could put together a snap judgment for you if you asked, but it's more interesting to let things float around in my head for a while. Especially when you have a group of interesting friends where you can bounce ideas around for a while and start putting them together.

The second problem with this is that in fitting things into boxes and finding perfect conclusions is that I was often wrong and then had to go back and completely reorganize my little system. Pain in the butt.

I discovered this issue most pointedly in prayer. I had a tendency to have to wrap everything up in perfect little packages for God. As in, here's the problem, here's the solution, and how You can help. Nothing like trying to project manage God! *cough*arrogant*cough*

I'm much more comfortable now in praying about issues and taking time to understand what it is I should be praying for (in terms of the "solution). Usually I don't know the best solution and it's much better to listen for God.

So, no conclusions about media fasting. No, I don't think I'm a bad person because I crave television. Yes, I definitely think there could be outside forces at work in this. Mostly I'm coming to a deeper understanding of the role of tv in my life. I'm hoping 10 days is enough to break my little addiction and let me be more intentional in my viewing in the future.