It’s at about the 50 second mark. Sixteen-year-old Jacquie Lee’s time is almost up and none of the super star judges have activated the switch to turn their chair around, signaling approval of Ms. Lee’s performance. If none of them turn, her journey will be over in less time than it takes to change classes at school.
Christina Aguilera’s hand hovers over the button. Time is nearly gone as she finally pounces on her button, convincing Blake Shelton to rapidly follow suit. Both chairs spin around to a smiling young lady. She has been accepted. She has received the approval of people who could propel her into stardom.Continue reading →
My sister-in-law, Sam, posted this a couple of days ago, and I’ve watched it a few times. It’s one of those things that I’ll add to my I-don’t-lose-my-man-card-for-tearing-up-at-this list (Yes, I actually have one of those). The fact that it’s a commercial tempers my reaction only slightly.
The people in this video went out of their way to make better an unjust situation for one neighbor. Breaking down barriers is presented as the primary motivation. They used their own time and effort to make a member of their community live like he would be able to live if a difficult thing – the loss of his hearing – hadn’t happened. There is only so much he could do for himself. The rest has to be done for him by someone else, and they did it knowing they wouldn’t receive compensation.
Salt truck succumbs to a pot hole in nearby Youngstown, OH (source:wfmj.com)
It’s not like I haven’t been around potholes before. But, they’ve been extra bad this year. I’ve had conversations with co-workers who agree that it seems far worse than in the past.
As it turns out, we’re correct. I read online that in 2015, the state of Ohio has been sued 256 times for automobile damage caused by these gaping craters – the most ever. Our local newspaper even has a “Pothole Patrol” so commuters can report the location of the most cavernous routes and whether or not they have been repaired. However, we have seen potholes before, and you’d figure that drivers would have some idea how to navigate them.
On my way to work last week, I took my normal route, which had birthed and expanded potholes overnight. At many points in a one mile stretch, cars slow to a crawl to safely maneuver a pothole minefield. I was at one of those points, and a driver behind me was in too much of a hurry to worry about the potential damage to his vehicle.
I saw this posted on facebook yesterday and it has stuck with me. The tone isn’t combative. The sentiment portrays a basic human need: to be accepted for who we are.
I’m not sure what rock I’ve been under, but this is the first I’ve heard of Vicky Beeching. From what I’ve learned about her from the internet, she seems like a lovely person who isn’t out to pick a fight. Her web site describes her: “. . . with warmth, humour, an ivy-league mind and striking honesty Vicky communicates a message of authenticity, challenge and self-development, much of which is drawn candidly from her own journey.”
In her interview with the BBC after the announcement about her sexuality, she noted that she stayed with the church because she thinks that disagreeing with someone doesn’t mean you can’t associate with them.
Okay, it was only a 135. But that’s a great score for me. And by the way, the sign above wasn’t my issue.
Village Church, the missional community my wife and I started with a few friends last year, chose to have a fun night last week for church. As an MC, not only can we do that sort of thing for church – we’re supposed to do it from time to time.
The first game we bowled I did predictably pathetic. I believe my score was 89. For some reason, I slice when I bowl. I’m right-handed, but the ball consistently cuts to the right and I don’t know why. Interestingly, when I golf (which I’m equally bad at) I almost never slice the ball.
My intent was to get a picture of the bigger fish. Zach, my 11 year-old, will have had that fish for two years this April. Goldfish are supposed to live like what, a few months? I’ve always thought that pet stores sell goldfish as bait or as a starter fish for kids interested in getting an aquarium. So, when we bought Zach this fish for fifty cents almost two years ago, we didn’t invest in gravel, plants or other fishy stuff. We didn’t think he’d last that long.
A few months later we bought the smaller fish because Zach was worried the first fish was lonely. They’ve been bowl mates for about a year and a half.
My wife and I can’t believe they are still alive. Zach doesn’t clean the bowl as often as he should, though it looks darker in the picture that it actually is because the room was dark. However, he never forgets to feed them each night. In the early days I would ask Zach at bedtime if he’d fed the fish. But, I could never remember their names so I’d just refer to them as famous duos in history. Zach stopped correcting me about a year ago.
This fine young man goes to the school where I sub
Youngstown has been a place with a bad reputation for many years. So it was great to learn about this group on facebook called Humans of Youngstown. The point of their page is to feature pictures of people who have been stopped on the streets of downtown Youngstown, OH, and who’ve been asked questions not about things like politics or the economy, but about themselves.
The reason I first looked was because I recognized this mug as a student – and friend – who I work with where I substitute teach in Youngstown. We were working on his snare drum skills just yesterday!Continue reading →
I was a little bored one evening last week and decided to play around with my phone notifications. The ringtone I set for my wife is Chris Farley singing “Fat guy in a little coat,” while he’s wearing David Spade’s jacket in the movie Tommy Boy. One of our favorites. It’s the text message notification I chose that got the better of me, though.
If you haven’t read the first chapter of my book that I posted on this site, let’s just say that cookies are a bad habit of mine (understatement!). I figured it would be cute to have the notification for receiving a text from Vanda on my phone as Arnold Schwarzenegger saying this.Continue reading →
Photo credit: Dave Knickerbocker (as you could probably guess by the lack of quality)
This little guy looks pretty good for being around for so long. He’s an M&M (duh) from the Christmas tree lights I insisted on buying. It was for our first Christmas tree after getting engaged over 17 years ago. He’s been through a lot. For the first couple years, at the end of the season I would meticulously re-insert green and the colorful friends from his light strip neighborhood into the plastic case they had come in. My hope was that they would remain in mint condition for years.
Then the kids started coming. When Jess got tall enough to be able to liberate them from their coniferous cage to live out the rest of their days with Barney and a few Disney princesses, I was forced to adjust. I reassigned the plastic candy that hadn’t been claimed by a Knickerbocker toddler to the top of our plastic tree. Also, with more kids came more decorations and more frustration packing and repacking them every year. It took several years, but eventually I resorted to winding them up like any other set of lights and tossing them in the box.
Who wants to go into a profession that will require you to have another job? It means that you’ll have to be good enough in more than one area to make ends meet. Working out vacation and other benefits is tricky too. Then, as a pastor, there’s the problem of fulfilling your obligation to your church community with half the time to do it in.
So when I heard a few years ago that some progressive pastors actually chose to be bi-vocational, it bugged me. First of all . . . what a luxury! I’m not a professional painter, successful salesman or someone else who has the capacity to earn what my family needs. Secondly, their point about how useful it would be to have pastors who work with people who don’t go to church made sense to me, and I felt a little guilty.
I’m not suggesting that every pastor should choose to be bi-vocational, but I’d like to share with you what happened last week that nudged me a bit further in this direction.Continue reading →