December 29, 2009

goal for 2010: utilize my planner.

as you can see, i'm holding my 2010 Monthly Planning Guide. it was issued to me from hillcrest (which, btw, has a newly revamped and live website). it was issued to hillcrest from the U.S. Diary Company, which i first read as "U.S. Dairy Company", and i found it odd that makers of milk and cheese also made planners. but i figured it out.

i've never been a true believer in a planner. i understand the point, and i understand that they are useful, but i also understand that i never remember to write in them.

back in middle and high school my mother would purchase me one of those school-issued planners every year, and every yearbook distribution day i would discover it hanging out with the empty Stewart's Key Lime Soda bottles at the bottom of my locker.

but now that i'm a big kid, i just might need a calendar. and since i don't have an iPhone (yet), i'm going to take my first strides with this sleek, burgandy, hard-copy monthly planning guide. call it a "resolution" if you want. but it really has nothing to do with New Year's...other than that it's a monthly calendar and the first day listed is January 1.

so a goal of mine for 2010 - utilize my planner.


December 28, 2009

bought a new car.

many of you know i got in my first car wreck a couple weeks ago. i kind of wish i could claim that it was scary and my car flipped and caught on fair, and that i was a hero and saved people from the wreckage before the car exploded or something.* but i was going 15 mph and the woman that hit me was going 5 mph. hit the wheel. bent the axle. totalled.

so i got a fat insurance check for way more than my old car was worth. sixes.

so i upgraded to a '02 Mazda Protege5. it's a 5-speed which makes me feel like a man more than anything else in my life. you guys can have your No Shave November. i'm no longer ashamed of my lack of facial hair. real men drive sticks.


* - this feeling could probably be transformed into a talk about how Christian kids who grow up in the church often feel lame for not having some awesome "i hit rock bottom" conversion experience.

December 12, 2009

oh dear. this is just awful news.

we all knew this day would come at some point, but it appears to suddenly be upon us.

the royals have signed veteren catcher jason kendall to a two-year deal.

this is disastrous news for royals fans. why? well, because JOHN BUCK MAY BE OUT OF A JOB IN KANSAS CITY.

i mean, sure, kendall is legit. he's got a career .290 batting average and a .369 career OBP. but WHY WOULD THEY DO THIS TO ME?!

General manager Dayton Moore said: "Obviously John Buck's been a big part of our catching corps the last few years and we'll have to make that decision, but it's safe to say Jason Kendall was brought in to be our everyday catcher and he's expected to catch 120 to 130-plus games."

what he REALLY means is...

"John Buck's been the emotional cornerstone of not only our catching corps, but of our entire team over - not only the last few years - but over Big John's entire five year career. Jason Kendall may end up catchin 120 to 130-plus games, but everyone knows that when JB feels the pressure, he suddenly puts up seriously scary numbers. Obviously."

it's a good thing Dayton Moore's daughter goes Hillcrest and comes to all of our middle school events. perhaps i could send some subtle hints for her to take home to the dinner table. i mean cmon, there is a reason Mr. Incredible has been in blue for the last 5 years! he's a fan favorite! he sells tickets! he's the anchor to a Royals team that would undoubtedly spin out of control without him.

it could be a very sad week to be a royals fan. it also could be my last week as a royals fan.

just a heads up for what's likely to come: there isn't a #14 on the yankees. jorge posada eat your heart out. JB's got you in the sights of his crossbow.


and fyi: the facebook group is THRIVING.

December 07, 2009

i have a fiance...

...and this is where it all started. (click it for google streetview!)

...and put this in your iCal: 10.02.10

...and don't expect this to be the only post to land the "ap is engaged" label.


November 24, 2009

questions should lead us - dave gibbons.

"one of the axioms i've come to believe about life and ministry is that questions should lead us. questions, not answers. Jesus showed us this time and again."

"if Jesus doesn't answer a question with a question, he tells a story."

dave gibbons
the monkey and the fish: liquid leadership for a third-culture church


November 19, 2009

empire state of mind II - alicia keys (sans jay-z).


okayplayer just posted this on their blog and i am speechless. just watch the above video.

all i can say is that alicia's new album is out on december 15 and i am buying it. or getting it for christmas. but if you're getting it for me for christmas, you might want to give it to me 10 days early otherwise i'll have 2 copies cause i'll already have bought it myself.

i'm listening to that again.


REVIEW: battle studies - john mayer

first of all, i must tell you that i am not 100% comfortable putting a photo of this album artwork on my blog. john looks super GQ and super lame. however, the artwork actually ended up being a blessing - when i first saw the cover a few months before its release i thought, "seriously john? this album is gonna suck."

but it doesn't. not at all. and i will yet again claim that low expectations are a much healthier way of living than high expectations. high expectations can only be met or not met*. low expectations can be met or exceeded...and my expecations were exceeded.

* - obviously there are a few outlying exceptions here: kanye's graduation, my trip to st louis, harry potter and the deathly hallows, etc.

i told my buddy jon yesterday via a text, "this album has a heavier things feel to it." and i stand by that statement...kind of. the album as a whole gives that vibe, but there are a few tracks - who says, friends lovers or nothing, assassin - that don't necessarily fit the bill. did john mayer truly reinvent his sound on this album like he has with each of his albums in the past? not really. if anything he took a step backwards from continuum and revisited a sound he'd already dabbled in before.

that having been said - this is a terrific album. really terrific. especially if you can empathize with mayer's jilted-lover theme (which i cannot). literally every song on this album is about girl problems - the "Battle Studies" he alludes to in the name of this album makes complete sense - he takes a look at the different "battles" the heart faces in dealing with the opposite sex. it's a "love is war" theme. examples: "half of my heart" deals with the inability to commit, "heartbreak warfare" deals with what it feels like to be dumped, "perfectly lonely" is all about the freedom felt without a significant other, "friends lovers or nothing" is a great picture of the extremely common "more than friends?/lets have a DTR" situation of which i'm duly familiar with.

that last paragraph was so long that my coffee went cold. crap.

however, there are a couple songs that could've been omitted and i wouldn't've really missed them. i can hear you arguing, "but adam - that means there would only be 9 songs! that's not enough for a full album!" my rebuttal: Thriller.

"edge of desire" does nothing for me - i'm just bored/annoyed throughout. and "half of my heart" doesn't impress me either - but that's probably because i sit there for the first 2 minutes dreading the impending taylor swift on backup vocals. what a ploy to 1. sell more records 2. reach a slightly different genre 3. perhaps get invited to the country music awards next year. i just wish it wasn't her. anyone else...okay not anyone - i would also veto nelly furtado, lady gaga, fergie or sheryl crow. anyone else though.

that having been said, "friends lovers or nothing" is my favorite track on the album. it's on repeat as i type this blog. it is perfect - the first two piano chords hooked me and the rest of the song just continued to reel me in...that's a fishing analogy.

i love this album, but it's definitely not his best. in fact, it might be his worst. it's not as good as continuum. or room for squares even. but it's still john mayer. so it automatically lands in the "great" category. he's just a phenomenal musician. period.

i give it a 3/5.


November 11, 2009

mystery: velvet elvis.

"the christian faith is mysterious to the core...if we do put God definitively into words, we have at that very moment made God something that God is not."

"the bible has a different understanding of mystery. true mystery, the kind of mystery rooted in the infinite nature of God, gives us answers that plunge us into even more questions."

"truth always leads to more truth. because truth is insight into God and God is infinite and God has no boundaries or edges.

"one of the great 'theologians' of our time, Sean Penn, put it this way: 'when everything gets answered, it's fake. the mystery is the truth."
[entertainment weekly: feb 2004]

"being a christian is more about celebrating mystery than conquering it."
"when moses enters the darkness toward the top of the mountain, he has moved beyond knowledge to awe and love and the mystery of God." [exodus 19]

all of these quotes are from rob bell's velvet elvis. i am re-reading it finally. i went through a somewhat intentional rob bell withdrawl phase - there was an uprising over about 6 words that rob spoke that were twisted and morphed into the word "heretic". which is hilarious for so many unrelated reasons. selective hearing and matthew 7:3 come to mind among some others.

but i finally decided to pick up velvet elvis again for the first time in years - and wouldn't you know that the end of the first chapter is ALL about mystery, questions, and it's correlation to truth.

you're speaking my love language, rob. i'm even in the mood for a new flow chart, but i'm also so tired. sounds much more complex than i had intially sketched out. i'll save it for the morning. anyone else want to take a stab at it before i butcher it again?


wall clock.

this is freaking genius. and i want it. too bad it's selling for $2,338. maybe i can make it myself. maybe nick can make it for me for my birthday. nudge.


November 10, 2009

more j.j. abrams: flow chart.

yesterday i posted my new favorite quote by j.j. abrams: "mystery is a better road to imagination than knowledge." my buddy, luke, commented on the importance of truth in that equation, and the more i think about it, the more i find it essential to the formula. sure, imagination is the force behind the abrams quote, but the overall point of it all is not simply imagination - the point is to discover the truth behind the mystery.

so during our all church staff meeting today i began to sketch out a flow chart of the abrams quote with "truth" added into the mix. my paper turned out looking super jumbled and sloppy and difficult to follow, so i made a quick less-confusing version quickly on my computer just now (i used a section of my desktop as the background for the chart - yep, hedges - perfectly mysterious).

i figure, if truth is the point, then knowledge doesn't necessarily get us there. we can only arrive at true knowledge if we know for a fact that the knowledge we have is truth. so we must start with mystery. we must start with the questions in order to fully arrive at the results.

my immediate response, then, is that in order to discover the truth behind a mystery, it is more beneficial to start with mystery than to begin with knowledge.

but what i also found interesting in the development of this flow chart was the importance of the process we go through between imagination and truth. that long downward arrow is essentially where all of life happens. we decide where we're going, what we're believing, who we're following, where we belong: basically how we perceive the world. this all happens within that stretch of arrow.

the quest for truth is found in mystery and imagination - not in knowledge.

anyway. those are my thoughts, but i'd like to hear yours. any changes you'd like to make to the chart? disagreements? things you really like? let me know.


November 08, 2009

j.j. abrams

"i came to realize that mystery was a better road to imagination than knowledge."

easily my new favorite quote. no seriously. check my facebook info. it's true.

i can't stop thinking about it. he said it in reference to LOST, which....duh, but it goes so much deeper than just television/entertainment/santa claus' existence. but i can't even begin to structure my stream of thoughts into a coherent blog. maybe later. maybe never. maybe let me know your thoughts? hmmmm.


November 03, 2009

getting out of the way.

it's interesting how easily we can get in the way of the work God is doing.

we can develop programs, create events and micro-manage details to the point that we're limiting the power of God to what our own structure can handle. we end up putting the Holy Spirit within our own parameters rather than trying to figure out what steps we need to take to catch up to the work the Spirit is already doing in our ministries.

it'd be interesting to see how effective our ministries could be if we quit worrying about the details, and started showing up with open arms expecting God to show up and lead instead.


November 02, 2009

november sizzler: the blazin challenge.

last night the freshman, sophomore, and junior guys small groups went out to buffalo wild wings to participate in the BLAZIN CHALLENGE: 12 blazin wings, 6 minutes, no water, celery, ranch, napkins, wet naps etc. just your face and your fingers - to take the popular Pink lyric entirely out of context: "it's just you and your hand tonight."

of the 40-some fellas that came to bww, the freshman group had 5 dudes participating in the challenge, the sophomores had 8 and the juniors added one more, bringing the grand total to 14 dudes - which, as you know, is two times the number of perfection.*

fortunately, we had managed to time the beginning of the event with the beginning of Game 3 of the world series, so our challenge began as all other terrific american sporting events do: with the star-spangled banner. so all 40 guys were belting it out along with the thousands in citizens bank park in philadelphia. an epic beginning to an epic event.

here is the sophomore event in pictures (with captions...because we found out after my st. louis trip that i'm truly incapable of doing strictly picture posts):

this is my challenge batch. notice the two stickers on the left side: one says "blazin"...the other is a warning label.

the munching begins. bring it on.

caleb polishing off wing 2 of 12. although not participating, colin is equally fierce and even brought some chocolate milk to tease the contestants. cruel.

dave is well on his way as well. both dave and i rocked white t-shirts. rookie mistake? or savvy veteren confidence? we'll see...

braden is a beast! he's a freshman, so he doesn't fit the "sophomore event in pictures" category, but LOOK AT THAT FACE! i had to include it. for more, check out tj's blog with a video of the freshman event.

caleb is feelin the slow burn! jack is all business.

my co-leader and best friend dave records the best time: 2 minutes 10 seconds. atta boy.

second place! my time: 2 minutes, 32 seconds. and hark! the white tshirts proved to be a stroke of confidence for both dave and i - not a single drop of sauce ended up there!

the group is finishing up...this is when the endorphins all ran to my head apparently.

lip ice baths! caleb and kurtis enjoying a quick dip in their ice water following the event. hilarious.

the blazin' graveyard. those bones didn't stand a chance.

this may be the first of many blazin challenges i'll participate in - all in all, i had a great time. i liked it so much that i might actually walk in to bww sometime this week and purchase 12 blazin wings for dinner. they were truly delicious. in the meantime, i'll be practicing my technique and further increasing my spicy food tolerance. can't wait for a rematch. the first sunday in november might've just become a new holiday and the host of an annual event. we'll see.

welcome to november sizzler everybody. this just might be the best month ever.


* - john buck reference.

October 22, 2009

Ratatat - LP3

at first i wasn't a big fan of LP3.

Ratatat has been one of my favorite bands throughout college. track 1 off their self-titled debut album, seventeen years, is terrific. they're all instrumental, so if you like lyrics then you're out of luck, but for those of us who experience music better without words - Ratatat is for us.

it's taken me a while to understand why i like the music i do. as i've grown older and (hopefully) wiser, i've begun to understand that it has absolutely nothing to do with poetry for me. i've also discovered that some of my favorite songs ever by some of my favorite artists...i have absolutely NO CLUE what the words are. but i could sing you the guitar solo, or duplicate the back beat, or tell you what other artists they gained influence from, or tell you what other bands some dude has sung for based solely on the sound of his voice against an instrumental accompaniment.

so i've slowly realized that music like Ratatat is music made for me. and i had been a huge fan of both of their albums prior to LP3 - Ratatat and Classics, but when LP3 came out last year, i wasn't immediately hooked. it didn't possess the killer track like "Seventeen Years" on Ratatat or "Wildcat" on Classics. those songs sucked my right into the album. i thought LP3 lacked that suck-me-in track.

i listened to their "biggest hit" on the album - Mirando - and thought it was jolly enough, but it didn't leave me desiring to hear more of the album. but then some friends of mine introduced me to Shempi. and then a few months later my iPod was on shuffle and Shiller came on. and i started to get pretty curious. and for the last couple weeks - it's been my go-to album.

i don't really have a review for it - it's a harpsichord-heavy synth album that requires patience and dedication. there are few moments on the album that will blow you away (Shempi is an exception - that track rules), but the album as a whole might have you tapping your foot for quite some time.

so if you're like me, and you love Ratatat - don't give up on LP3. it'll getcha. besides...just look at that sweet album artwork.


also, check out both of these Ratatat remix albums: Volume 1 & Volume 2 (click links for album downloads.) okay late.

October 08, 2009

coming out in middle school: non-practicing homosexuals.

i had an interesting discussion at a youth pastor's network meeting on wednesday morning. the topic of the discussion: coming out in middle school.

a tough topic. we talked about how youth culture is drastically shifting, and how every kid in our youth ministry (that isn't home-sheltered/schooled) probably knows at least a couple homosexuals - or at least kids who they're pretty sure are gay. comparing that to just 12 years ago when i was in middle school - i knew 1 kid. comparing that to 25 years ago when many other youth pastors were in middle school: most didn't know any.

so the culture is changing - kids are talking about it more, and the world is telling them that sexuality (both homo and hetero) is certainly something that you should be curious about at an early age. they're thinking about it earlier, and middle schoolers who are already searching for their identity are suddenly determining that they are gay much more often than in previous years.

but we don't want to limit it to them simply searching for their identity. if you tell a kid who truly believes that they are gay that they're just going through a phase and that they'll be straight again in a few weeks...pretty sure that kid has a great chance of never making it back into the doors of your youth group. however, we don't want to make it a big hairy "revert from your sin" conversation.

my personal opinion is that we should treat them just like any heterosexual kid - "you're not ready for a serious relationship anyway - let alone sex - why don't you come talk to me about this when you're 16 and we'll discuss what it means for your life." cause it's true - ALL middle schoolers are not ready for sex, no matter what their sexual orientation. they're non-practicing sexual beings just like the straight kids are.

but then someone asked the question, "are non-practicing homosexuals sinning?"

i've been thinking quite a bit over the last 48 hours about that question. temptation is not a sin - Jesus was tempted in every way, yet he never sinned - but it is when individuals act on that temptation when it becomes sinful. if someone were to tell me, "adam, i'm an alcoholic, but i haven't had a drink in 3 years," i'd be celebrating, not worrying!

so when a middle schooler corners me and says, "adam, i'm gay," how do i respond? he's probably not dating and certainly isn't practicing at 11 or 12 years old, so is he sinning? how do i approach the situation - theologically, but more importantly individually with that kid? to what extent do i attribute it to an identity issue, and to what degree do i take the kid seriously and start unpacking his/her situation more in depth? i'm not sure i have answers for most of these.

these are questions i'll probably wrestle with for a long time in youth ministry. decades probably. and just when i feel like i've got it figured out, culture will probably change again and the church's approach will need to change again. but no matter what, everyone is welcome to enter the Kingdom. there will never be a day when a kid could say something that would shut them out of the doors of the Church.



so i finally gave in and joined twitter. thus, i naturally feel the need to publicly defend myself.

it's simple really:

1. i was following a bunch of my friends' twitter updates on google reader already.
2. my friends are clever and i enjoy reading their clever little insights into their lives.
3. i was updating my facebook status as if it was a twitter account already.
4. if i were to list the top 10 people i love, respect and admire in life, probably 7 of the 10 twitter. actually that's exactly how many of them do. no, bill cosby did not make the list.

so far here are the 'cons' to twittering:
1. having to eat all the critical words i've spoken about it in the past.
2. my beautiful best friend has threatened numerous times to break up with me.

but hark! don't worry guys. i've recently learned how to deduce an "empty threat" from a "veiled" or "direct" threat.


direct threat: "i'm going to blow up your house tomorrow morning..."
veiled threat: "you probably shouldn't sleep-in past 9:30 tomorrow..."
empty threat: "too bad you got twitter. now i have to break up with you."

see the difference? they're quite easy to spot.


October 01, 2009

the hot dog season in a nutshell...

i was there last saturday night to see relish clench the championship. in all honesty: i went to something like a dozen royals games this year, and relish won EVERY SINGLE TIME I WENT. the reverend tim ciccone owes me copious amounts of cash due to repeated $5 bets against the green machine. so silly.

so here they 2009 hot dog race standings:

ketchup: 26
mustard: 27
relish: 28

2009 hot dog race champion: relish.

don't act like i never told ya. go relish. always and forever.


September 30, 2009

September 21, 2009

jay cutler versus the referee.

this happened yesterday afternoon: chicago vs pittsburgh. i wish he was still a bronco though so i could hate him more. ha.


September 14, 2009

somewhat immediate thoughts on the 2009 VMAs.

okay. so i first started writing about the VMAs in my facebook status, but then i started getting carried away and started writing paragraphs in the tiny little "What's on your mind?" box and decided i ought to just write it on my blog.

there are a few things that need to be addressed in regards to the VMAs. ready break:

number 1: kanye west is a jack hole. i mean, we were all thinking it 'ye - taylor swift is a no-talent clown who has somehow made it big in a questionable genre (in the VMAs eyes...also my eyes) - but you didn't have to go and throw her under the bus in front of the entire nation. she's 19 bro. just cause she makes millions of dollars she may or may not deserve doesn't mean you have to destroy her self esteem for years to come. do i agree that beyonce's video was better (and that this dude's was even better), but that's low. even for you.

number 2: empire state of mind is the best track jay-z has released since the black album. kingdom come and american gangster...not hov's greatest work. not that they weren't dece - they were - but blueprint 3 is the first album since 2003 that i've really been stunned by. more about BP3 in another post probably - for now, it is suffice to say that he and alicia keys'* performance in the VMAs tonight was absolutely bonkers. i literally jumped out of my bed and started pumping my fist before jay even uttered a syllable. i had a lump in my throat the entire performance. good grief.

* - again...possessive names ending in "S"...possessive of "keys"? keys's? keys'? keyses? this language is so stupid.

number 3: beyonce is a robot. when i consider each of the following - her voice, her body, and her dance moves - this is the only solution i can ever arrive at. no real person should be capable of being...that. she is powerful and, like her husband, absolutely killed it when she performed "all the single ladies (put a ring on it)". i mean seriously. she has to be a robot. i challenge you to derive a better conclusion. until i hear one i will continue to believe that jay-z is married to a machine.

number 4: the grammy for best hip hop album of 2035 goes to: shawn carter, JR!!! i'm telling you, if beyonce is indeed a human being and is capable of reproduction, and she and jay-z have a couple kiddos - you better believe that my offspring will be obsessed with anything and everything they do. you wait and see. those kids are destined for greatness. there is nothing they could do to screw it up.

number 5: lady gaga is a freak. also her performance was lip synced for sure. sounded pretty tight though. i have a history of liking freaks as long as they put out good music. the verdict is still out on LG.

number 6: the michael jackson tribute was perfect. oh my goodness. the most synced and beautifully immitated dance routine i've ever witnessed. music videos are impressive - MJ's especially - but they're still videos. you can take 5- 10- 20 takes before you get the perfect choreograph sequence down, but to watch the sequence perfectly matched live on stage?! brilliant. absolutely brilliant. and when janet -ahem- busts out of the background! i literally gasped and clapped. i don't think a better tribute could've been done...maybe if they played more quincy jones tracks. but that's just me getting greedy.

okay. i think that pretty much covers all my immediate thoughts. just had to get it all out of my system before i went to sleep. otherwise my heart would be racing and i'd toss and turn all night. but now i can go to bed in peace. except that 'all the single ladies' is rolling through my head. worth it.

best VMAs i can remember: kanye made a fool of himself, MJ was honored, and the shawn carter family have totally got some chops. definitely some chops indeed.


September 09, 2009

why mafia is the greatest ministry game ever.

sure it centers around murder, deception and lying. and sure it gives an opportunity for students to ruthlessly stab their best friends in the back. but i have said it before, and i will say it again:

mafia is the greatest ministry game ever.

there are a handful of reasons why mafia is the greatest game ever. i will list them now.

1. it forces students to know everyone's name.
you look like a total schmuck when you point at someone and say, "i think it's you - kid in the blue hoodie - yeah, him - you...i think you're in the mafia." people start whispering side conversations asking each other the names of the other people around the circle. students feel loved when you can call them by name (even more when you can develop a nickname for them) and when their peers know their name it means even more. by the end of a night of mafia, a room full of borderline strangers are suddenly best friends and can't wait to play together again.

2. students are forced to work together with individuals they're not used to being grouped with.
this is super fun to watch. you'll get the talkative girl, macho dude, quiet loner and stand-off-ish Flyleaf fan all working together and getting each other's back. students that would never have even talked to each other before are suddenly vouching for each other and trusting each other and working together to end the terror in mafiaville. this also breaks up the unhealthy attachments that some students have with a certain group and allows them to branch out and make friends outside of their normal bubble.

3. it develops confidence.
anyone can succeed at mafia - in fact, the already confident ones are typically the first to be found out. the quiet ones are the ones that fly under the radar and ultimately shock the group. this is something that every quiet and uncomfortable individual needs: a boost of confidence. suddenly the populars are at par with the not-so-pops. it's anyone's game, and regardless of the group, high fives always ensue following a mafia game.

4. it ultimately builds community.
when you combine the last three points, you eventually land at a great word called "community." community is what makes 'youth group' the slightest bit successful. it is at the center of what we do as Christians - we spend time and share life with each other. at the end of the day, mafia breaks down walls and replaces the with terrific avenues for students to grow together. Christianity isn't a solo exercise, and mafia aids in this fact.

5. it's stinkin' fun.
and lastly, it's just a blast. after spending years hanging out with the students at hillcrest, i can honestly say that some of my favorite moments have come in games of mafia. no other game could be played for 10 hours straight on a bus ride back from buena vista, colorado. but i've had the privilege of doing that 4 different times! and we always come back for more.

anyway. there are your reasons. if you want to know more about our mafia games, visit the facebook group or read about the 'party game' on wikipedia.


September 08, 2009

snow leopard and the planet Hoth.

i just installed the new Mac OS X (also called snow leopard) on to my laptop. is it worth it? probably. it freed up tons of disc space and everything seems to be running much snappier than before. it's fresh and clean.

the only problem i've had with it so far is that firefox would only work for about 9 seconds and then it would "unexpectedly quit" on me. but i just opened the new safari 4, downloaded firefox over again and i haven't had a problem since. feels good.

and speaking of snow, i got a new favorite tshirt.

complete with the Hoth battle scene at the bottom.

the ATAT on the right is falling over - while intimidating, i never really found the walkers very practical. any machine that can be tripped doesn't seem too powerful to me. but the shirt is sweet. i'm a sucker for anything star wars. probably why i spent too much on this new tshirt, and way too much on both star wars trilogies back in june.

and, yet again, i have to give props to jedi gym. never gets old.


September 01, 2009

father/son trip to stl.

my dad and i went to st. louis this past weekend. here's our trip highlights:

throwing rocks. our favorite pasttime.

check out the cute little tugboat puttering through the arch.

bob gibson outside new busch stadium.

ozzie smith. my all-time favorite ballplayer.

view from the top row of busch stadium. so huge.

this was the time when albert pujols hit a walk-off home run to win the game in the bottom of the 9th.

oh look. a chris carpenter and yadier molina post-game photo-op.

kings cross is apparently in union station in st. louis. never knew.

budweiser brewery tour.

these are pipes. the sub-text probably isn't important on this picture, but i dont wait it to feel left out.

this is what the middle of the bud plant looks like. pretty beautiful area. also they have a free "hospitality room" that follows the free tour. i'd suggest that everyone does this tour at some point.

anyway. that was much easier than writing out all the highlights in detail. terrific weekend. a picture tells a thousand words or something like that. so there's 11,187 words for you. dang. long post.


August 31, 2009

i can't get over the hedges.

karlie and i went to spain. this should not be news to any of you for two reasons:

1. i've mentioned it numerous times in previous posts on this very blog
2. since 96% of my blog frequenters are personal acquaintances of mine...the excluded 4% is comprised of a couple mormons and pat sajak.

however, i haven't gone into much detail about the trip on here and i don't really talk about it much to my friends. its hard to field the comment, "tell me about spain." way too general and all you'll probably get as a response is "it's so cool." or "it's so old."

but if you asked me a more specific question, say, "what was your favorite part about spain?" i would very easily and quickly respond...


there were so many amazing things that i did and saw and ate and experienced, but the one thing that blew me away and really got my heart beating: hedges. more specifically, the hedges that they have in the generalife section at the alhambra.

the alhambra is this 14th century fortress in granada. it was erected while the muslims ruled in spain, and the islamic architecture and itricate detail work is absolutely incredible. and don't get me wrong, the rooms were beautiful and enchanting and i was completely captivated by the entire fortress. well. the entire trip really. the mediterranean sea was pretty tight too.

BUT. within the alhambra were these gardens. and within these gardens were these hedges. and within these hedges were the most mystery and intrigue i've ever felt. it wasn't even a maze! it was just walls and archways and rooms of 20-foot high hedge walls. my two observations were...

"they're like walls...only they're alive!"

"they're like green walls that you never have to paint!"

childish? maybe. but totally honest and straight from moments of pure wonder. karlie was off snapping photos of the gorgeous flowers in another section of the garden, but i just kept getting pulled deeper into the living walls. there was this ornate fountain in front of me lined with flowers and vines and little streams of water going every way - totally magnificent - but i was continually beckoned by the archways in the corner of the 'rooms'. i would walk past one and it was like the gardens were whispering "come in here. you need to know what's beyond my walls."and the garden was right. it must have known that i am a detective at heart and that i wouldn't sleep well if i didn't investigate the entire blueprint of the hedges.

i realized something about myself that afternoon - i am captivated by mystery. i want to know what is in the nooks and crannies. i want to discover what is beyond the next archway. i want to know what secrets lie in each corner. spain is full of mysteriousness - probably just cause it's so old - but i found myself constantly wondering "what's behind that door?"

maybe that's just the adventurer coming out in me. the "explorer inventor" in his element. but i felt at home among those hedges, and here i am a month later using flowery language and giving these living walls a voice. reminds me of the talking trees from the wizard of oz.

anyway. now you know my favorite part about spain: the mysterious hedges within the alhambra. you also probably now know more about the inner workings of my soul - something that i didn't truly realize until just recently. consider yourselves up to date on my own search for self.


August 30, 2009

air jesus.

proof that jesus was a baller:

this was in a cathedral in spain. well, it still is probably. but karlie and i aren't anymore and thats when this picture was taken.


August 26, 2009

save the planet.

i'm leading a discussion throughout october with our middle schoolers called "save the planet". it could also be called "environmentalism from a biblical perspective: what it is and why it's supposed to be important to us as Christ-followers", but if i called it that, then none of them would want to hear my discussion. either way, it definitely has the potential to be a great topic for our middle schoolers to digest.

as youth workers, it is important for us to understand what society says is important and reexamine the image through a biblical lense: what doest the Bible say about this? where is this written? politics and society tells middle schoolers (and us) that environmentalism is important, but not really why it is important. but to be honest, i'm not seeing the importance of it to society either. i understand its importance to us as Christians, but the rest of the world doesn't really have a good reason to take care of it.

but anyway. i've been watching documentaries and reading articles about global warming, genesis, creation, and environmental everything this afternoon. going into this little research session i had the "God made us in his image so we're above the rest of creation, but we're supposed to take care of it and not abuse what is rightfully his" perspective. and i still chiefly hold this perspective, but there were two thoughts that i hadn't really considered yet.

many environmentalists hold the perspective that the world would be better off if humans didn't exist - that way, the world could run its own course and we wouldn't be here to destroy its beauty. but to God, we are a part of creation. sure, we are at the top of the creation pyramid - made in God's image (col 1:15-17), dominion over the earth (gen 2:15), etc. - but the claim that nature would be better off without us is strictly unbiblical.

the second thought isn't as perspective-altering, but a good insight for sure. when we're thinking about being environmentally friendly and going green and all that business, we need to remember that we are doing so as an act of worship to the Creator, not creation. it's important for Chrsitians to understand this distinction. plants and animals are a part of God's creation, but they are not the object of our worship - their (and our) Maker is.

just some insights into what i've been doing today. now it's time for me to go break into my girlfriend's car at rockhurst and leave her flowers in her cupholder.



August 25, 2009

the cooper family: myers-briggs.

i went to my parents' house tonight for dinner and to help anna with her pre-calc. after we'd finished her homework and i'd helped her all i could, we (my mom, dad, anna and i) got into a conversation about the myers-briggs personality test. apparently my family had just taken the test recently or something cause my mom already had all the results listed out except for mine. i already knew mine too, but i retook it when i got home just to confirm.

here are my 5 family members' results:

dad - ESTJ - implementer supervisor - "Because they naturally devise systems, procedures, and schedules, others rely on ESTJ s to take charge and get things done. Others may also find them overpowering at times because ESTJ s are so certain about how things should be. Because they are clear and straightforward in their communication, people seldom have to wonder where they stand."

mom - ISTJ - planner inspector - "ISTJs are sociable when comfortable in the roles they are playing; however, they generally do not share their wealth of rich Sensing observations and memories except with close friends. Others see ISTJ standards and judgments, their desire for structure and schedules, but they may not see their individual, sometimes humorous, private reactions."

holly - ESFJ - facilitator caretaker - "ESFJs are energized by interaction with others and genuinely interested in others' lives and concerns. They feel most comfortable in structured situations and enjoy creating order, structure and schedules. They prefer to do things the traditional and accepted way."

anna - ENFJ - envisoner mentor - "ENFJ s are energetic, enthusiastic, and very aware of others. Their genuine interest can usually draw out and involve even the most reserved person. They listen to and support others, but also have a very definite values and opinions of their own, which they will express clearly. ENFJs are energized by people and are socially adept; however, they also have a strong need for authentic, intimate relationships."

adam - ENTP - explorer inventor - "ENTP s are spontaneous and adaptable. They find schedules and standard operating procedures confining and work around them whenever possible. They are remarkably insightful about the attitudes of others, and their enthusiasm and energy can mobilize people to support their vision."

all 5 different, but i think all 5 are spot on in their descriptions. i think it's really cool how unique my family is separate from each other, but when we all get together we seem to mesh so well. the 5 combinations all seem to interweave somewhat...actually, in order to further illustrate my point, i'm going to create a diagram. for all you visual learners out there.

easily the coolest diagram i've made in the last 48 hours. maybe even 72. just threw it together in paintbrush (the mac version of the paint program for windows...i'll admit, not as good.)

anyway. it's a cool visualization i think. it's neat to see that - with the exception of my mom being the only introvert and my being the only perceiver - we all share all our traits with at least one other person around the circle. 4 of the traits are shared by at least three people. 2 of the traits (extrovert and judging) are shared by everyone buy one person (my mom and me respectively). it's fun to see the differences and similarities. i encourage you all to look into this with your family(s); if only to see what each other is. it's really fun.

i just wish we'd done this as a family years ago, it would have made family vacations so much less of a burden.


August 24, 2009

a blog involving N*E*R*D, michael jackson, hungryboy10, youth ministry books and calculus tutoring.

i've been getting back into N*E*R*D lately. and by "getting back into" i mean that i've been listening to strictly fly or die and in search of... for about 3 weeks now. i've decided that the neptunes (pharrell williams and chad hugo) are the source of my favorite beats - maybe with the exception of mr. kanye west and the king of pop himself.

speaking of MJ: i was at 810 zone with one twittering and one non-twittering homie watching the mexico/usa officiating nightmare, and this chunky, newly-corporate, mid-20's babyface sitting at the table to my right says the following phrase to the other gentleman at his table...

"dude. did you hear michael jackson died?"


have you not been out from the rock you live under/your parents basement in the last 2 months? is this boy really that removed from all sorts of media? has he not gone into a single store and seen the various magazines putting out michael jackson tribute editions at every register aisle? do you even know what the internet is? how does someone miss news like that? my guess is that he was hungryboy10 in the flesh, and that he had failed to notice due to the copious hours of world of warcraft he's been playing.

moving on.

i got two new books last week that i'm really excited about. marko's newest book "middle school ministry: a comprehensive guide to working with early adolescents" and doug fields'* book "your first two years in youth ministry". books with straightforward titles are my favorite i've decided. except for catcher in the rye. that title is in no way straightforward, but it's my favorite book. i should probably say that it holds true for non-fiction at least.

* - okay. i've asked about this before, but how do you make a name that ends in an 's' possessive? mostly i'm curious about the name "JESUS" because thats the one that comes up most often in my lifecourse. jesus'? jesus's? i'm very clueless.

also i'm tutoring my youngest sister in pre-calculus this year. i'm actually excited about it. not only do i get to see my sister, but i get to do math and get paid and do my laundry and eat a meal when i come home to help her out. it starts tomorrow. i'm going to probably have to add a math book to my list of new books too. can't wait.

anyway. thats probably enough things to talk about. otherwise my title will keep getting longer and longer. sweet. late.


ps...i might get twitter? gasp.

August 22, 2009

usain bolt is borderline human.

it's unfortunate that usain bolt was running at the same time tiger woods was choking this past sunday. if these hadn't been aired at the same time i'm sure plenty more people would be talking about how much more amazing usain bolt is than y.e. who?

everyone needs to go here and here to watch him run in the 100m and 200m respectively. the dude is a freak.

after you watch the clip on metacafe, you need to scroll down and observe the following comment about his new world record...


respect the royalty.

this is me sitting at dunn bros at 8:30 on saturday morning, i came to work on hillcrest stuff for tomorrow morning, but as it turns out i feel more confident upon arriving here this morning than i did when i set my alarm last night planning to wake up and get some work done. so i'll blog instead.

my internship is going great - so much better than my past summer internships. i feel like i'm being challenged, i'm growing, i'm not being cutely shepherded along in everything that i do (as was the case in past summers), but i'm being given some terrific freedom and ownership of the things i'm in charge of. i'm also getting repeated confirmation that this is what i'm supposed to do with my life. i feel like i've been ready for this next step for a couple years, and it feels really good to step into a new level of responsibility.

speaking of steps - i was eating some red vines and talking to tim (my boss, friend, and softball teammate) this week about what my future looks like. while i am not a gypsy and cannot transparently foresee the future, i know where my life is headed and can make a couple rather good estimates on different avenues i could take. namely:

1. i could stay at hillcrest for two years and look for a full time covenant youth job a couple years from now, or...
2. i could start putting my resume out there starting in december and plan on ditching kc around may for another covenant youth job.

..."youth" should probably read "middle school".

both of these ideas scare me. i'm leaning towards the first option (mainly because i dont think my heart would be able to handle running away from the city and people i love just yet), but i'm starting to wonder if i should start looking now? the thought of leaving kc is devastating, but is it something God has for me to step into?

good thing these decisions are months away...but now that i've said that i realize that "months" isn't really a very long time away at all. oh goll.

i might have just wet my pants.


also i want everyone to realize that cedar rapids and overland park are 2 of the top 10 places to grow up. i will add that OP is one of the best places to move when you're newlyweds. i have no article to link to supporting this claim, but when you guys move here you'll understand that it is absolute truth. that is all.

August 19, 2009

a golden tee moment.

sometimes dan and i play golden tee at buffalo wild wings. we played yesterday afternoon and this is my second shot on hole 5. it's a par 5. watch and be amazed...

a DOUBLE EAGLE?!? are you even kidding? man i love this game.

best thing about this round of golf: i finished the front nine holes at -9...then i shot a +8 on the back nine. pitiful, but still so great.

and yes, my player name is Wizard McGavin.


August 13, 2009

baseball card fever.

i have baseball card fever.

in the last couple weeks i've acquired the 1982 and 1989 topps complete sets along with the trade updates and debuts from '89. i've also picked up a couple boxes of 2009 topps and upper decks, and a few other packs in hopes of some lucky jackpot acquisitions.

the fellas i've been going card shopping with - mostly tj and motown - are all into the new age cards: jerseys, autographs, spx upper decks, topps allen & ginter, etc. expensive boxes with a much greater payoff if you get lucky.

but i'm different. i'm into the classic sets - the rookie cards and team sets of the hall of famers and championship teams in the 80's and 90's. i'm old school probably, but i'm okay with that. i'm not in it for the money or the flashy collection, i'm in it for the players i love and the teams i respect.

also, from my personal perspective it seems like there's no real "collection" when you open up a pack and there's a stephen strasberg signed jersey rook card staring back at you. it's a sweet thrill and certainly an addition to a collection, but a collection - to me - is a group of cards that all go well together. so i've decided to make some short term goals for my card collection.

Goal #1: the topps rookie cards of the 1982 st. louis cardinals world series champ team.

not a crazy difficult conquest, but not an easy one by any means at all. i'll need to do my research - acquire a full team 1982 checklist roster (plus updates and debuts), determine the rookie year of every athlete on the team (for example, ozzie smith was a rookie in 1979), and then figure out how i am going to acquire each of these individuals.

i'm not sure when/if Goal #2 will surface, but for now i'm going to focus on the task at hand. wish me luck.


ps. this is my 400th post.