Monthly Archives: February 2007

Putting the "Fun" in Funeral

I went to a funeral today, one of the first ones I’d simply attended in quite some time. It was weird. First of all, funeral homes are bizarre places – bad furniture, worse wallpaper, and just an aura of oddity hanging in the air. Then the pastor that did the service was, at best, mediocre. She didn’t do a bad job, but just didn’t seem to connect with anyone in the congregation. Six different scripture verses were read and three different hymns were sung, but very little was said about the life of the deceased.

So I’ve been thinking, should any of you be around when I pass, here’s what I’d like to have happen…

It’s fine with me if there is a worship component – in fact that would probably be appropriate. However, it should be held in a church, not a funeral parlor. I want lively music, bright colors, coffee, donuts, laughing, joyful singing, and stories told about my life. God has brought great joy to my life – act like it when you remember me!

After the service I don’t want anyone to drive 20 miles an hour to watch my body be put in a hole, seriously, does that make any sense? So, leave my body behind, or send it off for cremation (or heck, it doesn’t even need to be present, just get me cremated before I start smelling too badly and then gather for the party at your convenience). Go to a nice bar or restaurant for a meal afterward and drink and eat and laugh and keep telling stories. Stay through the afternoon and late into the evening; eat another meal if you’re hungry, throw darts, shoot pool, play golden tee and keep telling stories about the silly or pointless or moving or meaningful things that I did in my life. Don’t worry about anything, I’ll pick up the tab.

Oh, and I want gifts for all of the guests. I like the mix cd idea that a lot of couples are doing for their weddings now. You know what I’m talking about, the cds with songs that were playing at significant parts of the happy couples lives. I want one of those made. Hopefully I’ll have lots more years to add tunes to it, but for the time being I know I want the following included: Gravedigger (Dave Matthews), Bury me Deep (Poi Dog Pondering), Good Old Days (Kyle Moreland), It’s a Beautiful Day (U2), Happy Trails (Roy Rogers and Dale Evens), Blessed to be A Witness (Ben Harper). The CD case should have a picture of my laughing or smiling. Oh, and give everyone some nice dark chocolate – something that’s at least 70% cocoa, that’d be nice.

If I can get people who care about me together for a good party when I die, I will consider my life to have been a success!

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30-Hour Famine

I had a great weekend with our youth group doing the 30-Hour Famine. Some numbers to share:

About hunger…
– 29,000 people around the world die every day because of hunger related illness.
– That’s one person every 3 seconds.
– 100,000 people in Lake and Porter Counties (in Indiana) are hungry.

About our lock-in…
– We at 0 food between 1:00pm Friday to 7:00pm Saturday.
– We served more than 225 people at Ridge Church’s Fish Fry on Friday night.
– We sorted some 22,000 pounds of food at the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana on Saturday.
– 26 youth participated in the weekend.
– 5 adults did the famine and were present through the whole lock-in
– 5 more adults helped out by providing rides at different times.
– We raised more than $1,700.00 for World Vision’s work to end hunger.

Some pictures of the fun:

Youth serving at the Fish Fry

Fun time after the Fish Fry Friday Night (Knockout anyone?)

“Breakfast” on Saturday morning – we took periodic juice breaks.

Sorting Food at the Food bank

Temptation in the Wilderness

KU basketball on the big screen!

All in all it was a great weekend – I think the youth learned a lot and had a great experience. Have I mentioned that I love my job?!

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My Expanding Blog Circles

A couple of months ago I shared some of the blogs I like to read on a regular basis. That list has continued to grow and so I wanted to share some more with you. I’ll update the list on my page so you can check back from time to time. In no particular order…

My beautiful bride is blogging again. She’s insightful and cute.

Our friends Sara and Chris from seminary are both blogging too. I stumbled upon Chris’s blog awhile ago, but just discovered Sara’s the other day.

A good friend of mine from college, Kevin Campbell, is now a blogger as well. Look for him to pontificate about faith and life and family and beer.

Andrew Conrad is an Associate at Church of the Resurrection in Kansas City, KS. We’ve never actually met, but I enjoy reading his stuff in cyberspace.

Jonathan is the youth pastor at the Salvation Army Corps (Church) just a few doors down from us. We had breakfast this morning and I look forward to more conversations with him.

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Maximizing/Moralizing Spending Potential

I had to get away from the church for awhile this afternoon to clear my mind. There wasn’t really anything wrong, just too many hours here already this week with the anticipation of a long weekend of fasting and loving on sometimes difficult to love on youth ahead. So, I headed up to Healthy Horizons a health food store north of us in Hammond. Several of our closest friends have been doing a lot of shopping there and I knew they had my favorite dark chocolate (88% cocoa) so I wanted to go check it out.

Part of my quest to Healthy Horizons was about checking out what high protein/low carbohydrate options exist at the “health food store.” Not many, I learned.

While there I also spent some time looking at organic and natural hygeine products – toothpaste, shampoo, lotion, shave cream, deoderant, etc. As I read labels and sniffed I was impressed by a number of the products. As I looked at price tags I was in shock! Sure, it’s a good and responsible thing to be conscientious about our consumption and to be aware of the way that animals and other humans are treated in processes that bring us our goods. But as I stood there and contemplated purchasing these products I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. While they smelled tasty and using them might have helped my feel good about the causes being supported, I just couldn’t bring myself to spend between two and three times as much as I usually do for my health products.

On my drive back to the church I continued to wrestle with the question – where do we draw the line between buying organic and natural products and being stewards of our dollars? For me, this afternoon anyway, the line was drawn somewhere between not being able to buy a $6.99 stick of deoderant and happily buying a $2.89 chunk of delicious chocolate.

Where do you draw those lines?

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Milestone

This morning when I stepped on the scale it read 236.6 – a full 20 pounds less than it did on January 2nd when I began this new way of eating and living.

While the weight loss is exciting I continue to be most excited about the energy level I have and about the way I’m feeling. I’m excercising regulary and feel active, I’m drinking lots of water, monitoring the food I eat, and making sure not to work way too much. It’s pretty great!

One of the things going on here at Ridge Church during Lent is a Walk to Wellness program that our caring group is calling “In His Steps.” The idea is pretty simple, walk two miles every day of Lent (not counting Sundays) and you will walk 80 miles – approximately the distance of the Journey that Jesus made from Galilee to Jerusalem. I will be tracking my steps and at the rate that I’ve been exercising I shouldn’t have any problem doing it.

My initial target weight is to get down to 215 so I’m almost halfway there. Once I get there I will reevaluate as my Doctor says I should weigh about 180 tops. For the time being though I’m feeling good and continue to be excited about this journey!

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Job Satisfaction

I’ve been a little busy these last few days and haven’t been able to write like I’d like, but wanted to take a minute to celebrate life.

I love my job! This Sunday we had Youth Sunday at Ridge Church and all three of our worship services were led by youth: they led music, served as worship leaders, and preached. Everyone did an awesome job and we received a lot of great feedback from people in the congregation! I’ll get pictures up on the web tomorrow and hope to get all of their sermons up before long too.

Then Sunday night we had youth group and it was a blast! I’ve got a great bunch of youth and some wonderful adults who have committed to helping out on a regular basis. We played volleyball and laughed and just had a wonderful time!

This coming weekend we’re having a 30-hour famine lock-in and I’m looking forward to it as well. 30 hours of not eating is pretty rough, but it’s for a great cause and we always have a wonderful time!

I’ve got lots of other “blogs to be blogged” on my list, but have another meeting in just a few minutes so I’d better run. More to come soon.

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Snow Day!

Today, possibly for the first time in my life, there is a snow day on my birthday! Heather and I woke up this morning and flipped on the TV with the excitement of elementary school kids hoping to see our school’s name flash across the screen. As we sat there and waited and waited and waited I suddenly remembered that it was 2007, so I went downstairs and got online. I visited the web pages for the School Town of Highland, The School Town of Munster and several others – all had canceled school because of severe weather – Awesome!

We began our morning by taking the dog out and shoveling snow. It’s hard to say how much snow there really was because the wind had been so nasty. Immediately out our front door the sidewalks were relatively clear. Out our back door, in our small patio area framed in by the house, the garage, and a fence on both sides, the snow was deep – at least 4 inches. And I had cleared about as much the night before and 2 inches or so yesterday morning.

We’re inside now and Heather’s making me a birthday breakfast. I’m going to try to get some work done this morning and then I’m going to spend the afternoon and evening doing some leisure reading. Happy Birthday to me!

Out our front door – the sidewalks aren’t terrible, but the street is still pretty bad!

Out back there was barely room to put the snow I shoveled – here’s some around our grill.

And in the other corner of our “backyard.” Anyone wanna make a snow fort?

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