Monday, June 30, 2008

My surprise 30th B'day party

Yep, it was a surprise. Not the fact that I was having a birthday party, but that it was on Saturday night rather than Sunday evening. My sweet wife pulled off a great one!

Erin tried to recruit David Brush to get me out of the house Saturday afternoon, but wasn't successful. David asked if I wanted to go to a movie (and kept asking) but I kept turning him down becuase I already had several things to do on Saturday and wanted to get it all done so I could enjoy (what I thought would be) a birthday dinner with my wife. Erin eventually told me on Friday night that she was trying to get me out of the house, but I still didn't know why. My thought was, "that must be some dinner she's working on if she wants me out of the house." So when I told her on Saturday morning that I'd just stay in the basement and work while she made dinner, I made her so upset she started crying. So, I went to the library for an hour and then sat outside the library for an hour and a half after it closed, working on my musical lines and Sunday's message. When I came home at 6:30, I still had no idea. In fact, I even invited my neighbor to the party I thought was happening the next night, not knowing my backyard was full of people. I didn't know what was happening until I stepped on the back deck and could hear all the people. It was a wonderful surpise. The Hawkeye theme was a nice touch, too.

It was great to spend the night celebrating with such good friends, many of whom I don't get to see very often. I never get too excited about my birthday, but I'd been telling Erin the past few years that I'd like to do something big for my 30th. One of my best friend's wife threw a surpise party for his 30th and had some of us that couldn't be there send in video messages. At the time, I told Erin what a good idea that was and even though I forgot, she remembered.
So here are the videos from some friends and family that couldn't be at the party.
Mike DeBoef
Emmanuel Reinbold
Brandon and Stephanie Classen
My nephew and neice

If you want to see all the pictures from you party, you can view the facebook photo album.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Interviews with Satan

Check out these great interviews with Satan. Very enlightening. I don't know why, but something changed on my blogger acount and I can't make links. So, you'll just have to cut and paste, but these are great!

Church Unity -

Money -

Sex Ed class -

Sex Ed again -

My third decade

Yesterday I stepped out of my twenties and into my thirties. It didn't really sink in until I read the envelope of Erin's birthday card to me, "for my 30 year old husband." Yep, I'm 30 (and a day now). Incidentally, Erin's card was a perfect fit for me. On the outside it read, "Some nights I lie next to you and feel like the luckiest woman in the world." On the inside, "Other nights I feel like a woman who should never serve chili for dinner ever again." Erin probably feels the second scenario more than the first.

This major life transition has caused me to do some thinking and journaling. One of the prayers I wrote went like this, "Jesus draw me to yourself. With your grace, enable me to keep my eyes on you. This next decade is going to be very significant. In one way or another, parenthood will happen during this decade. This will be the first decade in my life in which physical strength will decline. I hope to lead many people to Christ in this decade. I want to be resilient. I want to stay focused upon you! Help me to become stronger in the practice of my faith. Help me to become more sensitive in listening to your still, small voice and stronger in the ability to act."

It's significant that just as I'm making this transition and having these thoughts, I'm finishing up a great book, A Resilient Life, by Gordon MacDonald. MacDonald writes about how we can continue to grow in all areas of our lives. Many people choose to take the paths of least resistance, which leave them spinning their wheels all throughout life. A resilient life is one where we discipline ourselves so as to get the traction necessary to propel us forward. I'd strongly recommend this book.

MacDonald writes about how people who have an easy time in their 20's tend to fizzle out by their mid-30's. While those who have had to work hard during their 20's have gained the personal discipline necessary to propel them toward their greatest work in their 40's and 50's. The working hard part has certainly defined my 20's, but it remains to be seen as to whether I have what it takes to move toward greatness (as defined by the best that I can be) later in life. I do believe however, that I've been learning what it takes to get the most out of my abilities, while continuing to focus upon the long-view.

Another interesting part of MacDonald's book that applies to the flip from 29 to 30 is his section on the questions we must answer in each decade.
20's: clarifying our identity
What kind of man or woman am I becoming? How am I different than my mother or father?
Where can I find new friends who will welcome me as I am and who will offer the familylike connections that I need?
Can I love? Am I lovable?
What will I do with my life? What is it that I really want in exchange for my life's labors?
What parts of me and my life need correction?
Around what person or conviction will I organize my life?

30's: clarifying long-range responsibilities:
How do I prioritize the demands being made on my life?
How far can I go in fulfilling my sense of purpose?
Who are the people with whom I know I walk through life?
What does my spiritual life look like? Do I even have time for one?
Why do I feel empty, tired, confused and drifting?
(If things aren't going my way) why am I not a better person?

Questions I've worked through and am beginning to deal with.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Crazy Hair Night at Music Man practice

We had "crazy hair" night at practice tonight. I don't have much hair to mess with, but Erin went with the Jackie Kennedy hairstyle.
We went through the entire first act and it went pretty well. Our director told us we're ahead of schedule. She even told me my dance moves were right on! I
've got my lines memorized all the way through the opening scene of Act 2, but I've still got a lot of work left to do.
I don't have to do any of these dances!
Mrs. and Miss Paroo
Matt (Mayor Shinn's) nice hair-do

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Some of my favorite pictures from Alaska

Snorkeling off the "beach" at Ketchikan (in wesuits).
Helicopter ride to Mendenhall Glacier
View from helicopter
On the Mendenhall Glacier Erin and Jesus walking on the water
Greek Orthodox church in Juneau
State Capital Building
Humpback whale

Helicopter ride near the Klondike trail
Hiking in the Tongass National Forest
Skagway railway built for the Klondike gold rush
In Glacier Bay National Park

On Mount Alyeaska, near Anchorage

Bird's eye view of the Coral Princess
Chinatown in Vancouver

Formal night on the ship