October 22, 2008

Raining Leaves and Frostbite

Fall is my favorite time of the year. I love the brisk mornings, the almost warm afternoons, and the cold evenings. I love the smell of the cold. I love the colors of the leaves. I love cider and snuggling under blankets. I love flannel pants and slippers. I love having the excuse of it being cold outside to drink coffee all day long!

This morning when I left the house, it was around 28 degrees. It was cold and frosty. When I shut the door, my attention was drawn away from heading to the car by a sound I don't think I've really ever heard, or at least noticed. Our house tucks up against some woods. In the spring and summer that is bad news. It makes a nice haven for the mosquitoes, which are insufferable. Over the last few weeks, they have turned beautiful golds, browns, and reds. it is great. But, this morning, the leaves were raining down. The cold frost had encouraged the leaves over night to give up their lofty place and come to earth. In the process of their descent, they were bumping into everything and creating quite a noise. It was not deafening, but it was certainly noticeable enough to capture my sleepy, un-coffee'd attention.

While fall and the cold brings me much joy and peace, it does however cause much trouble inside. When the weather turns cold, most run to the thermostat and crank on the heat--one of my friends mentioned today that his house was a balmy 72 degrees today (to his defense, his mother was staying with him for a few days). That's not our house. My wife, otherwise known as the heat miser, always makes an attempt to not turn the heat on before November 1st. We have a few friends who also try to do this--in an attempt to save some heating dollars for later on in the year when it's actually really cold here in MI. One of their rules is that they don't turn their heat on till the shampoo freezes. I secretly think my wife waits as long as she can because she hates the smell of the furnace running the first few times as it burns off all the dust and junk from sitting idle for months.

Sometimes October treats us well, sometimes not. This has been a not year. This morning when I got up it was 52 degrees in the house. Its a great sleeping temperature. You put on the flannel pants, a sweatshirt, and dive under a load of covers, one hopefully being a granny quilt. Its great! However, as I sit here at the dining room table blogging and working, I can't feel the tip of my nose and my legs have that hot but cold feeling. You know, the feeling you have when you come in out of the cold and you just barely start to warm up. I think my hot tea even has ice in it now. You can feel the cold in the air. Its just not right.

They are calling for highs in the 40s by the end of the week. I don't think we're going to make it till November 1st.

October 11, 2008


Tonight the band I'm in, Revel on Sunday, played at Visions Night Club tonight. Visions is a Christian night club on the north side of town. It's a great venue for worship and concerts, and a great place to hang out. It's been around for awhile. We've played there twice now.

Tonight Mike Thompson, the owner/leader of the place, spoke about collisions. The idea was, how do you have a head on collision with God? How are you putting yourself in God's path and running at him full force. The story he told to go along with this idea was about when he felt God calling him to walk to Visions from his house--13 miles. He talked about trying to talk himself out of it and how he really fought the idea, like we normally do with God. But, after giving in and walking in the rain, he shared about the focus he had from the experience and the challenge that it has been to his spiritual life.

It really got me thinking, not that it takes much. Where am I getting in a collision with God? Being in ministry, spirituality is what you do. That sometimes becomes an excuse for not doing this or that in my life. Even beyond that, where is my life totally missing with God? Those are good questions to chew on for awhile.

The other thing on my mind is how to get more people to Visions. It's a great place. Not a great location, but who cares about driving to the north side of town for a great place? Yet, on a night like tonight there were 10 or so people there. God is bringing who he wants, but what if...

Time for bed. Goodnight!

October 8, 2008

Atlas of the Real World

In my quick afternoon peak at the headlines on my yahoo page, I came across a new book called The Atlas of the Real World. It isn't your normal atlas. Rather than normal geographical maps, this atlas re-sizes each country in regards to different demographics like the amount of nuclear warheads or how many of its people were on the internet in 1990. The most intriguing to me were these two maps:

People who live on $2
or less per day.

People who live on $200 or more per day.

This should make us hurt. Does it?

Go here for more on the atlas.


I guess that one could say our nation at the moment is unsettled. We haven't been for some time. We're really in a downward spiral grappling for just about anything to slow us and stop the plummet. It's a scary time, espcially with an election in less than 1 month where, in my opinion, we're voting for the lesser of two evils.

But politics is not the point of this blog.

Within the church I serve, there are normally some ups and downs. That happens when you work with people. There seems to be a bit more wavering with people shifting from here to there, called by other jobs, better opportunities, struggling with life, and so on around here though. And so, we sit here scratching our heads, wondering if and when it will turn around.

I think the better mindset we can grasp comes from knowing that our God is still in control. That's a scary thing to lean on sometimes, but it is something to lean on. Probably, we should do more than just lean, though. We should be grasping and grabbing with everything we can, holding on for dear life. Granted, this should be a daily thing, not only when things are unsettled.

Psalm 33:16-22

No king is saved by the size of his army;
no warrior escapes by his great strength.

A horse is a vain hope for deliverance;
despite all it's great strength it cannot save.

But the eyes of the LORD are on those who fear him,
on those whose hope is in his unfailing love,
to deliver them from death and keep them alive in famine.

We Wait in hope for the LORD;
he is our help and our shield.

In him our hearts rejoice,

for we trust in his holy name.

May your unfailing love be with us, LORD,

even as we put our hope in you.

October 5, 2008

Camping Out

Tonight is a special night. It's the night that I go to Great Lakes and camp out for Madrigal tickets. I'm actually here right now in the student mall. What memories it brings back.

Madrigals is a dinner drama that Great Lakes puts on every year at a church downtown here in Lansing. There's a full 4 course meal, a Shakespearean drama written by the English prof, and an a capella conert by a 12 voice choral group. It is a great evening.

Camping out has been a tradition for some time now. I used to camp out every year. It was a tradition that my roommate from GLCC, Matt Fallott, and I began in 1993. Sure, there were others that camped out before us like the old guy in his lawnchair, but it was our tradition. We camped out our entire time at GLCC. When I moved back to Lansing after seminary, it was a given that on the first Sunday in October, I was camping out, no matter what.

The last two years I cheated, though. I didn't feel like camping out. So, I would pay a student to do my dirty work and get my tickets. It just wasn't the same, but it worked. Unfortunately, she graduated last year. So here I am, out in my own lawn chair at the front door of the college, typing a post.

Sitting here makes me nastalgic. I can't keep my mind from running back over all the different camp out times. I can't keep my mind from thinking about my time in Madrigals while at GLCC--about how it would really set my mind on the Christmas season. I can't help think about the friendships that I built during those times in rehearsals.

Unfortunately, I'm the old creepy guy in the chair now. Great.