Thursday, April 10, 2014

Disney Photo Contest

So we entered this photo into a Disney Photo Contest about 11 days ago.  I was kind of thinking it was worth a shot, but suddenly, it is looking like we have a legit shot to be in the running for a 7 Day/6 Night stay (hotel, tickets and dining)!

If, for some reason, you are reading this and haven't heard about it on Facebook, you can go to this link to vote for our picture:

You have to have a Facebook account to vote.  You have to like the page that is hosting the contest (completely safe, no risks).  You can vote once every day till April 14.  We need as many votes as possible, so go vote and then spread the word!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Compassion Into Action

UPDATE:  Katylynn was blown away this morning as we shared with her that she has been able to raise $320+ (some have given directly to her rather than online) for St. Jude's.  She spent time yesterday cleaning up our basement and even got her little brother to join in as he agreed it would be great to help kids who aren't feeling well.  THANK YOU to those who have jumped in!

I'm not a huge fan of fundraisers.  However, I AM a huge fan of causes worth supporting and people giving toward that cause.

Last Tuesday night, on the way home from a meeting at the church, Katylynn informed me that she had something "very serious" she wanted to talk to me about.  She had already had a similar conversation with Janelle.  She explained to me... well, why don't you watch the video to see what she explained to me:

As I heard my little Kindergartner explain this on the drive home, it was clear that her heart hurt over the fact that there were sick kids who need help.  It was also clear that she wanted to do her part to help.

The concept is simple.  Katylynn will be working on a Math workbook.  Your gift(s) to St. Jude's are in honor of her efforts.  It is a lump donation.

A few things to pass on.
  1. The next morning after we talked about her desire to help, she brought down her wallet where she keeps her loose change.  She counted out her $2.32 and decided that she would like to give the 32 cents to help St. Jude's.
  2. She asked me if she could do work around the house to get some money to give to St. Jude's.  As she does the math she will also be cleaning up in our basement and helping with dishes and other chores where she will be earning money to give.
  3. I asked her if she'd like to record this video to see if others will help her.  She was obviously very willing.
  4. There are prizes to those who raise funds.  Only once in our many conversations about this has Katylynn mentioned the prizes.
  5. Although not mentioned in the video, this has been a great teachable moment on the heart of Christ to help those in need, and she grasps that as she helps here, she is helping Jesus as she helps those who are sick.
In the end, I'm excited to see a daughter who was moved with compassion and is willing to put that compassion into action!

If you would like to partner with Katylynn, go to and donate.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

3 and 3: Smart Phones

3 Things I love about my iPhone
  1. All in One:  Voice, Text, Email, Facebook, Twitter, Skype, quality digital camera, music.  I can get away with one device.
  2. Synchronization:  For an incredibly disorganized guy,  being able to synch up my calendar, contacts, and mail to and from my phone is a huge help.
  3. Kid Entertainment:  Although we are extremely cautious on how much and how often we let them use it, when we find ourselves in a constrictive situation where our kids are waiting on us (meaning they can't run around, laugh, scream, loot the place, etc.) there are several games and apps that will keep them engaged.
3 Things I do not love about my iPhone
  1. Always "on":  The general expectation is that I should be immediately available. 
  2. Cost: Is it really a wise expense?
  3. Too Many Phones too Young:  This isn't so much about my iPhone, but I would say giving a Middle School Student a cell phone is risky.  Giving him/her a smart phone is downright stupid. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

3 and 3: Facebook

3 great things about Facebook:
  1. Connecting with those you've lost connection with:  From a Student Ministries standpoint, Facebook has been a fantastic tool to stay connected or reconnect with former students who are.
  2. The World Gets Smaller:  I love to stay in contact with my friends from India, Kenya, Mexico and the Dominican Republic.  I love that our students are able to do the same.  In my mind, this is one of the best developments in enhancing Short Term Missions.  The relationship is able to continue.
  3. An Online Resume:  I can learn a lot about a person through their Facebook Profile.  It may not always be who that person truly is, but it at least gives me insight into what kind of image that person wants to reflect to the online world.  You may call this "creeping," and there is a line to be cautious on.  Yet, I have been able to gain valuable insight into students, parents, and intern applicants as I've been able to connect with them through facebook.

3 bad things about Facebook:
  1.  Narcissism:  We have all grown to think our activities and opinions are a little more important to this world than they really are.
  2. Added Noise:  I've never heard anybody say, "I'm not spending enough time on Facebook."  I do regularly hear (and personally say) the opposite.  I have experienced the the personal distraction of having Facebook open in another tab, hearing that little beep, and moving away from what I'm supposed to be doing to see what's going on. 
  3. Immediate Response:  James 1:19 may be the most violated scripture on Facebook.  Watch the pattern on Facebook... 
    • Big Story breaks (Chick Fil-a president, Obama re-elected, Sandy Hook, Phil Robertson)
    • Phase 1: People take to Facebook to post knee-jerk reactions that are regularly unprocessed, vitriolic and a poor reflection of Christ.
    • Phase 2: People take to Facebook to react to everyone's reactions.
    • Phase 3:  The few culturally wise find a way to remind us to practice wisdom 
    • Phase 4:  Everyone moves on until the next issue comes along.  We get to repeat this process, but hope that more heard and applied the wisdom of those in Phase 3.

3 and 3 Series

3 good things about knives:
  1. Spreading (butter, jelly, peanut butter,mayo, ketchup.... you get the idea.
  2. Cutting (steak, bread, string, plastic, wire, etc.)
  3. Whittling (wood, soap, anything else you can whittle?)

3 bad things about knives:
  1. Stabbing people.
  2. Getting accidentally cut while intending to use it for a good purpose.
  3. Getting in the hands of kids or those who don't know how to use them properly.

The point? (ha! point... knives.  Get it?)
Very rarely is something inherently good or bad, but much more how we use it.
The posts you will see in this series may have a little to do with this.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

TBT - 25 Random Things

On January 29, 2009, the post began with the following:

This thing has been going around on Facebook like crazy, and I've been "tagged" about 20 times. I'm supposed to post 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about myself. I'm also supposed to tag 25 people to do the same.

To read the 25 Random I cam up with at that point, click here.

Today, I give you a new set of 25 Random:
  1. I quit the basketball team on the 4th day of practice my Sophomore year and started swimming the the next day.
  2. I was never a part of an organized football team, and I wish I would have at least played one season in Junior High.
  3. Given the choice between being by myself or hanging with a group, most times i would choose to be by myself.
  4. I still have no desire to become a Senior Pastor.
  5. Since marriage, Janelle and I have been to Disney World 12 times.  Katylynn has been 6, Moses 3, and Keiralee 2.
  6. From 2000-2008, I led either a GO (evangelism training) or IMPACT team every Summer.  I have not led either team since then.  This has allowed me to be a parent and to empower the other leaders around me.
  7. I have had 7 different offices while on staff at NMC.
  8. I went to Bethel College as Undeclared leaning toward and English Major.
  9. I hate wearing any shirt that has a collar.
  10. I wear some form of Crocs 95% of the time I have footwear on.
  11. I have seen U2 in concert twice.
  12. I have been to 9 Major League Ball Parks for games (Comiskey, U.S. Cellular, and Wrigley in Chicago, Comerica in Detroit, Busch in St Louis, Old Yankee Stadium and Shea Stadium in New York,  Cinergy and Great American Ballpark in Cincinatti) and visited Fenway in the offseason.
  13. I have a soft spot for Zombie movies.
  14. Janelle and I often talk about movie to Orlando and working at Disney after retirement.
  15. I will be 50 years old when my oldest daughter graduates from High School.
  16. I have never tasted alcohol.
  17. I have paid for 2 haircuts in the past 22 years.
  18. I drink Diet Dr Pepper... a lot.
  19. Every Summer since 1999 I have spent at least 2 nights at Beulah Beach Camp in Vermilion, OH.
  20. I currently have 14.5 days worth of music on my iTunes.
  21. I have sought professional counseling multiple times in my life and God has used it in great ways.
  22. I was a Homecoming Finalist 4 different times in my life, and was not crowned once.
  23. In 2009, I literally flew around the world. Chicago->Amsterdam->Kenya->Dubai->Bangkok->Seoul->Chicago.
  24. Visiting every continent is on my bucket list.  I only have Australia and Antarctica to go.
  25. I have been to at least 400 graduation open houses in the past 14 years.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Apps and iWorld

i am a late iDevice adapter.
Became a iPad owner 18 months ago.
Became an iPhone owner 3 months ago.

App world is still fairly new to me.  If I were to rank my most frequently used non-social media apps, they would be the following:

 Candy Crush Saga:  I'm not addicted... I could stop any time...   

Bible (youversion):  Somewhat convicting to type this, but I still mainly read out of my paper bible.


Kindle:  This is the app that has been slowly converting me to screen reading over paper reading. 

Weather Channel: So easy to pull up and see the forecast as well as look at some of my favorites and wish I was there in January.

Deer Hunter 2014:  I've never hunted in my life... until I downloaded this app.

Google Maps:  Still like Google maps more than any other app.  I didn't use this one until I got the iPhone and an actual data plan.

WDW Lines:  Don't use this one as regularly but I basically lived on it while were at Disney.  User reported wait times, optimizable touring plans, crowd calendars, all around awesomeness.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Blog Backsliding

Well, I said I was going to try every day in January.
I've missed 4 days so far.

But, I'm not done with the goal of reviving this blog.

Pressing on.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

TBT - Old Post with New Thoughts

If you aren't on Instagram or Twitter, you may be unfamiliar with TBT, or Throw Back Thursday.  Basically, people pictures from their past and label it #TBT.  For instance, I would post a picture like this:

"That's me, bottom row, 3rd from the left.  #TBT"

But, I'm not going to do that with this post.

Instead, I'm thinking I'm going to try something on Thursdays as I try to get back on the old blogging bicycle.

TBT here is going to be when I look back on a previous post from years past and respond with an update.

For Example, on January 22, 2009 I posted "3 About Me" where I responded to Steve Gall's post on his now dead blog with multiple categories where I gave 3 answers to multiple categories.

Here's my responses in 2009 (in blue) and my 2013 response (in white)

Three jobs I have had in my life: 
Lifegaurd at Nappanee Public "pee" pool (that's what we called it), Gym Monitor at Bethel College, Delivery boy of "The Paper" for downtown Wakarusa. 
Landscaper for Hayseed Landscaping, host of *conVERGE webshow on Remedylive,  Student Ministries Pastor at Nappanee Missionary Church.

Three movies I would watch over and over: 
Lord of the Rings Trilogy, The Italian Job, Dumb and Dumber 
Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Indiana Jones quadrilogy, Elf

Three shows that I watch:
LOST, Chuck, Around the Horn. 
Duck Dynasty, Breaking Bad, Once Upon a Time

Three places I have been: 
Jerusalem, Amazon Jungle, Etna Green. 
Uganda, Kenya, DRC

Three of my favorite foods: 
Spaghetti, Steak, Ice Cream 
Spaghetti, Steak, Ice Cream

Three places I'd rather be right now: 
Disney World, In a Hot Tub, In bed. 
Disney World, Summer, Inda

Three friends I think will respond by posting this on their blog:
I don't know of any friends who are still actively blogging.

Three things I am looking forward to this year: 
Summer Camp, Anniversary trip with my wife, that thing that I don't know about right now that will likely end up being a huge highlight. 
Summer Camp, Family trip to Ludington, watching the kids grow and learn.

Three jobs I would love to have: 
Professional Traveler, Disney Imagineer, the one I have right now.
 Author, Disney Podcast Host, current job.

Wednesday, January 08, 2014

5 Strong Opinions

  1. "I'm busy" is one of the most over and misused phrases in our culture today. 
  2. Parenting 3 kids is significantly trickier than parenting 2 kids, and I believe 4 kids may be easier than 3.
  3. The Church is not any more "irrelevant" or "broken" than it has been in the past 2000 years.
  4. The greatest sin being committed by Christians today is worry.
  5. Jesus is enough.