Monday, January 29, 2007

the office - faxes from the future

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Answer My Friends...

At least a few times a week I drive through a few of the wind farms south west of Abilene. The Horse Hollow Wind Project in particular is the largest of it’s kind in the world. I have always been fascinated by these giant structures. The tower itself stands around 275 feet tall with a school bus-sized hub on top from which fan blades over 100 feet long extend. A few of the towers are so close to the road that they cast whirling shadows on the vehicles whizzing by. Even though they appear to be moving rather slowly, the tips of those shadows are traveling much more quickly than the 70 mph traffic. Yesterday as I drove by the cloud deck was so low that you could not see the top of the tower. It was so cool to see these blades suddenly appear knifing through the mist with no visible means of support. It is amazing to think that something so huge (and they are incredibly huge) can be moved by a mere breeze of 6 mph or so. Of course, the number one tourist attraction for the Abilene area in my opinion is Jacob’s Dream on the ACU campus, but after that I recommend the windmills although they are getting harder to miss.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

The Highlander

The train of thought that is my mind is a pretty wild ride. For instance, this morning I heard a reference on the radio to living forever. My mind jumped to the song by Queen, "Who Want's to Live Forever?" Then I remembered that that song was in the movie, "The Highlander." Then I thought, "Hey. I'm kind of a Highlander. At least I go to Highland." Then that led me into thinking about my history at Highland. The train stayed in that station for a while. Many may not remember the old signs they had in passenger train restrooms that said, "Do not flush while train is standing in station." Yeah, well, sorry about that.

I remember how I wound up at Highland. When I first moved to Abilene about 20 years ago I went to Highland while I was in high school. I hung out with people like Tom Rose Jr., Wendy Wray, Alison Money, Jennifer Money, Stacy Catalina, Winkie James and others. I was in the huddle group led by the Zellers, Sutphens and Levretts. Over time I joined my parents over at Southern Hills and also went to church with a girlfriend quite a bit over at Baker Heights.

I returned to Highland one Easter when Jack Reese was leading a group of singers in a song called "Arise My Love." My good buddy Nino was leading worship at Highland at the time and told me to come and sing with the group. Somehow I ended up singing the lead on that song that year and every year since. I really think that kind of set into motion a course of events that I might otherwise have tried to avoid.

My family sang a lot when I was very young. One of my earliest memories was of us being at a family camp while my mom was alive and we sang for a talent show and had to do an encore. The high school I attended did not have a choir, however. But when I got to ACU I sang a little bit here and there. I was in the choir a year or two and I sang in a few traveling groups for the recruiting arm of ACU. I found that while I enjoyed singing I wasn't all that great at it. This was especially clear when I was chosen as a Sing Song host alongside Brandon Thomas and Stephen Bailey. One of these things is not like the other... Those guys were/are awesome. Still, it was an absolute blast.

Fast forward back to Highland. I found myself enjoying the chance to sing again. That song that I sang that Easter is now a 14 year regular. But what I never thought I would do is lead worship. Being friends with guys like Nino and Brandon and Stephen and Ryan Christian and John Dennis and Chris Dell and Ryan Porche and so many others gave me a pretty good picture of what a talented worship leader was and my snapshot just just didn't fit the frame. Still, I kind of fell into the role a few times at the last minute when someone wasn't able to make it. And while I still didn't feel all that comfortable with my abilities, I started to notice something. I truly felt more worshipful when I was leading worship. I noticed how certain songs brought emotions to the surface so much more when I was leading than when I was sitting. I noticed that I would catch myself smiling while I was singing. I thought about what it could be and decided that perhaps it was a couple of things. Certainly there is a responsibility one feels in that role which for me translates into preparation logistically but also spiritually. Sadly, I seldom did that when I was just "going to church." But also, I am on the verge of being a blubbering, sappy baby when I look out and see the faces of people who are praising or worshipping (the difference may be the subject of another blog one day) and shining through clouds of illness or brokenness or divorce or uncertainty or grief or whatever. Don't get me wrong, sometimes there are also faces out there which seem to be suggesting that I should not pass GO and punch my ticket straight to the fires of hell. And while my darker tendancy would be to dwell on them, I don't. It is much more rewarding to dwell on the people with whom I have a history and through whom I see Christ.

So. What does that mean now? I don't know- I'm justing writing in a stream of consciousness here. But I do find that I am more willing to agree to requests to lead worship than I used to be. Honestly, I still think that most of the people out in Squeaky Seat Land would be much better at it than I, but I am at least thankful that God is letting me grow and enjoy it more. Of course, it must be said that having such great people on the team to sing with and share with has a great deal to do with it, too. Sure it means a big time commitment and really long Sundays, but I think God is using this task to grow me more as a person than a worship leader. Of course, I have so much room to grow in that regard that I may have to find a church that has ten services a day every day and see if I can speed up the process. Until then, I remain a Highlander.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

None for me, thanks

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Reflections on Disney Trip 2007

I do not care if you do not speak English. When people are lined up at a concession cart it is inappropriate to go right up to the front and start ordering. This happened at least once for each for the following languages: Portuguese, French, Spanish, ???? and ????.

When you are yelling at your child that you warned them if they acted this way you would leave the land of the billionaire rodent and go home, you have to wonder to yourself why you are acting surprised and why you brought that child in the first place.

On the day we flew back we went to Animal Kingdom and rode Expedition Everest five times before leaving at noon. I must admit that I am a little excited about the possibility that my kids could be roller coaster junkies.

I did not get flashed at Disney this time. I’m okay with that, though.

Here is a list of some of our Disney World favorites, but not necessarily in order:

Expedition Everest
Space Mountain (Oldie, but a goodie)
Big Thunder Mountain Railroad
Fast Passes
Buzz Lightyear Star Command
Lion King Show (Personal Favorite)
GM Test Track
Kilamanjaro Safaries

Our luggage enjoyed the trip as well. So much, in fact, that it decided to stay a little bit longer.

Four kids meals + One appetizer= $75 in the happiest place on earth.

Pictures from our trip are on the family blog.