Thursday, December 31, 2009

Caught in a Pick...

How do you teach your kid NOT to pick their nose? In saying that, I'm sure there's a book, a blog, a "professional" out there that has a 4 step program (most likely spelling "boog"), that would provide the answers.

BUT i'm finding myself in quite the conundrum...

Cora is just so darn cute, knuckle deep into her nostril! Not only that, she'll come running (pointing to her nose) and say, "there's something up there!" How can you not love that?

So for now, i think i'll just let her pick away. There's a lot of time between now and middle school.

Happy New Year's Eve,

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Rockstar in the Blood...


Monday, December 28, 2009

Pre-Christmas Prep w/ Cora...


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas 2009...

see more pics here!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

It might be time to REthink Christmas!

Are you hopeful for Christmas this year, but worried its just going to be a repeat of years past? Are you trying to convince yourself that this year, the traditions will be different somehow and really close out the year with a bang?

Do this for me...think back on last year. What was memorable? Ok, now go back 2 years...what sticks out?

Anything life altering?

If you're like most people, you have your laundry list of Christmas traditions. Each year you go down the list one by one, week after week, and expect something refreshing and transformative. But nothing happens. Its the same bad traffic, long lines, songs, and tv specials as every other year.

My advice, (if this is you), CAN THE TRADITION! If the tradition lets you down every single year, maybe its time to morph it, or just try something completely different. After all, you can't remember what you did the last couple years anyway - so what's to lose??? Why are we so hesitant to toss out lame tradition???

It might be time to REthink Christmas!

Here's a few ideas:

1. visit/attend a worship service on Christmas Eve (if you typically attend one, but are left feeling nothing year after year, get online and try another one - worship with people you've never worshipped with before in styles you've never considered)

2. spend more WITH family and less ON family (time, activities, etc.)

3. focus (stop trying to do everything and instead do SOMETHING)

4. laugh

5. spend time where Jesus would have spent his Christmas'...(with the least of these)

6. the gifts you do give, make them socially conscious gifts (gifts with a purpose and mission)

7. be still (take a deep breath, another, another, another...)

8. listen (sometimes we're too busy "out-telling" everyone else's stories when just maybe we'd do better to hear them and let the the stories soak in)

9. invite someone over for a meal, celebration, etc that has no family or friends around for the holiday

10. eat (just eat)

That's it for today. Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Book Entry #3 (encounter)

Here's another small excerpt from my upcoming book...enjoy!

I believe that in our consumer-driven, materialistic society, we fall prey to the habitual re-creation of an entertainment encounter. And just because I use the term “entertainment,” doesn’t mean I’m referring to a particular style of encounter; contemporary, progressive, traditional, post-modern, blended, etc. Rather I’m referring to the fact that we try and dish out what gives “our people” what they want.

We spend an amazing amount of time calculating what will drive the numbers up and try and meet those expectations unequivocally. If that’s a rock band or pipe organ, we’ll do what brings in the numbers. After a season of positive encounters, we say that things are going well, budgets are in the right place, staffing is secure, and things are generally healthy. However, when these encounters leave us uneasy, we quickly blame the ministry staff, begin questioning the church’s stewardship, and eventually go down the road of, “oh, remember how things used to be…”

It’s a natural place to go. This line of thinking is very normal. However, the fact that we got there in the first place illuminates the real failure. The fact that we can, (in one week and one worship encounter), determine the encounter’s success by the ministry staff’s hard work, excellence and spiritual maturity, and the next week call it a failure, without any hesitation that just perhaps the encounter has something to do with how we arrive, the preparedness of our hearts, and the willingness of ourselves to be challenged, moved, and disrupted, shows how far the church has gone and how we’ve allowed the gods of culture to infiltrate.

The encounter is good when we sing our favorite setlists, see our favorite video clips, don’t allow the services to go too long that we miss kick-off. In contrast, the encounter is bad (or at least sub-par) when we don’t do these things. And right then and there we have fallen into idolatry – in both scenarios.

But no matter what, the perception is that good or bad, the overall success or failure is dependant on the staff. Good pastors don’t have off weeks – right? If not, then a strong man or woman of God, wouldn’t allow these encounters to suffer. That’s what they were hired to do – to deliver an encounter. And when we outsource this encounter away from the conditions of our own hearts week after week, month after month, and year after year, the cycle becomes endemic and customary to gauge our encounter by the perceived success or failure brought about our so-called outsourced ministry staff(s).


Thursday, December 17, 2009

Last Minute Christmas Gift Ideas...

And yes...this post is a selfish plug.

But I promise you WILL BE PLEASED with these CDs. If you order today, you can have them in time for Christmas - and what a perfect stocking stuffer these will make :-)

Simply click on the album title to purchase - YOU CAN ALSO BUY THESE ON APPLE ITUNES...

Ross Christopher & the Familiar Voice - Act Alive

Have a great week and do yourself a favor by purchasing one (or both) of these exciting albums in time for Christmas!


Ross Christopher’s The River Child is a minimalist epic, lyrically and musically compact. Self-penned, recorded, engineered and produced, it’s a pure DIY effort. Hailed for his electric violin prowess in live performance, Christopher is subdued, even when he trades extended guitar and violin solos—with himself—on “Blinded My Eyes (Wasting),” which borrows Dylan’s oft-quoted “Watchtower” minor progression.

At turns vocally suggestive of Live frontman Ed Kowalczyk sans the trademark snarl, Christopher sings with a quiet intensity. Faith is a consistent thread as he reworks “Amazing Grace” with an altered melody line and later sings, “Release Him, let Him go” in “Barabbas,” appropriating both the Biblical prisoner’s persona and crowd’s words speaking of (and to) Christ prior to the crucifixion. —GMG

Wildy's World Publications - The River Child (REVIEW) 2008
Ok, this is big. Not big as in its going to sell 10 gazillion copies (probably not), but big as in artistically and musically unique, unusual and satisfying. Ross Christopher is not a name I'd heard before (nor likely have you); but this might just be one of the more eclectically exciting albums to grace the market in 2008.

Ross Christopher's The River Child soars at times like Radiohead, rages like Spirit Of The West and has a bare emotional component similar to Ben Folds' recordings. The River Child opens with Two, sounding like something Jay Semko might have dreamed. The River Child has an airy brilliance to it that is disturbing and wonderful all at once. Blinded My Eyes (Wasting) delivers an ethereal rock sound that skates the chasm between Radiohead and late Pink Floyd. Be sure to check out Little White Anger, which seethes in its own discordance.

Other highlights include Whispering Lilies, Amazing Grace and Perfect Sound. Ross Christopher marches to the beat of his own drummer, not managing to sound exactly like anyone in particular while giving definite nods along the way.

The River Child is the sort of album that folks may look back on in several years as a watershed moment, but I have a feeling it may not get the attention it deserves because it is eclectic and brilliant and just too good to be recognized for what it is.

This is a Wildy's World Certified Desert Island Disc without doubt. Whatever else you check out musically in 2008, make sure Ross Christopher is on the list. You'll thank me. You'll see.

Rating: 5 Stars (Out of 5)


Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Where Has The Talent Gone?

I saw this and asked myself, "where has our artistic integrity gone these days?" We just don't make 'em like these anymore...


Monday, December 14, 2009

Paying Homage (silent "h" style)

Today is a national holiday of sorts. You might not have heard, but today is a day that deserves our focus and homage (silent "h" style).

Today folks, is National Biscuits & Gravy Day. And that makes me proud and humble to be alive!

I indulged with reverence and humility. If you haven't yet, the day is still too can live life to the fullest.

Carpe Diem Baby!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Experimenting in the Kitchen Gone Oh So Right...

This afternoon I had a hankerin' to create an amazing dinner!

After a short trip to the grocer to let the culinary-creative-juices flow, I decided upon a Beef Bourguignon, Asparagus, and Salad.

It was a complete shot in the dark.

BUT it turned out amazing!

Here's how it played out:
steak (5, 2-3 inch cubes), 5 garlic cloves, 1 carrot, 4 red potatoes, a large handful of mushrooms, 1/2 an onion, red wine, and some olive oil.

grill, sear, simmer, and cook for about an hr or more...

AND voila...!
Sooooooooooooooooo good!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

This Christmas Season...

So this Christmas season (Advent), I've listed a few things I really wanted to give focus and consideration to. One, simply being still. And unfortunately stillness is so counter cultural, that I struggle in this department.

But in my attempts to re-focus this Advent on being still, spending more time with family, and just being in the moment that is Advent, it brings us to great places...and this was one of those places.

The night was frigid, but I was surrounded with my 3 loves, and we had a blast!

getting laced up...

so far, she's not a fan...
on our way out...

on the ice...and finally, a carriage ride for everyone...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I Won't Forget Today

The weather in St. Louis is frigid today.
Temperatures are in the teens and the wind is blowing 40-50 mph.

And minutes ago, I stepped back indoors from a funeral. The funeral was a military funeral, with full rifle salutes, flags, etc.

The snow was blowing.
Cheeks, ears, and finger tips were bright red.
Tears couldn't even find their ways down people's cheeks without freezing first.

But amidst the cold; people listened, prayed, mourned, and remembered this man's life.

I didn't really know him well. He was in his nineties and went to my church. He was always bringing smiles. He loved to laugh and make others laugh. He brought about peace and joy.

Seeing the family gathered, grieving, and loving was surreal but warming. And even though I didn't really know him well, I was thankful that just for a moment I was able to be present in the midst of his remembrance and ceremony.

Life is fragile and even when it leaves us in old age, the loss of a loved one is difficult.

But this man gave life a ride and left a legacy. I hope to do the same.

Today I learned in the frigid temperature.

I won't forget today.


Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Entry #2 (a quick preview)

Here's another quick preview at one of the books I'm currently writing. I hope (with all my heart) it causes a stir...

Consider the implications of Outsourcing. From a business perspective, outsourcing typically refers to the third party subcontracting of a service, product, or manufacturing. Outsourcing usually takes place in order to lower costs, free up time, and energies. Most basically, outsourcing involves the transfer of a task to an external service provider...

...By now, this attitude of expectancy, commodification, and consumerism has engulfed the church and plays out no different than private companies. Our “church shopping” culture has somehow forced the hands of leaders to play into the power of the executive business models, where we now treat ministry as an assembly line. The more people we can turn on and turn out, the better off we are, the more successful our ministry, the bigger our steeple. It’s a numbers game, and quantity seems to be the driver.

The church, unlike the rest of the world, has often turned the vision and call of being Jesus’ hands and feet to the world, into an executable machine, with certain 10-step programs guaranteed to grow your congregation, grow your collection plate, and if there’s money left over at the end of the month, we’ll even supply the visitors with Jesus mints.

But this isn’t completely a get-rich-quick scheme of the church. Its not an evil plot sought out by seedy church leaders. It’s a deep and interconnected problem that society expects and the church caters to.

I do not intend to solely put the weight of this in the hands of church leaders either– in fact, many found themselves in this mess without even realizing. I do however mean to lay out some ideas and hopefully start a broader dialogue that can shift this culture away from its consumerist tendencies and begin to weave a new way of how ministry and true life change is brought about.

More to come later,

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Song Idea Vlog...

So here's how I write (sometimes) lyrics yet, just a chord progression, a melody line, and a cute kid to talk to me straight!

Hope you enjoy it,

12.02.09 Cicero's Concert

here's some pics from last night's show...


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cora VS. Olive

Which is which...???