Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Targeting a Very Specific Audience

I did not crop this picture, so you can see that it was generated at churchsigngenerator.com, but Brooke and I did see a church marquee here in Arlington that said this very thing! I couldn't help but think three things:
  1. They have certainly targeted a very specific audience.
  2. How much longer will their target audience be alive?
  3. I wonder what someone who is not a Christian would think if they read that sign?

Monday, October 20, 2008

This is Fourth Grade?

Here is a video of the Hurt family trying to memorize the first two stanza's of Amanda's poetry homework for the week.

Amanda's teacher likes poetry so a lot of Amanda's homework has been memorizing poems. Up until this week, they have seemed like poems appropriate for a fourth grader. Our pattern has been to read through the poem, define any words we don't know, put it in our own words so we understand it, and then memorize it. This poem...well, we looked up a number of words, but try as we may, we can't really put it in our own words. It's pretty sad when Mommy and Daddy can't even explain the poem to Amanda and she is expected to memorize it and recite it to her class in four days! So here's the poem. Maybe some of you poets out there can explain the parts in red to us (you can use the comment section).

October's Bright Blue Weather
by Helen Hunt Jackson

O SUNS and skies and clouds of June,
And flowers of June together,
ye cannot rival for one hour
October's bright blue weather;

When loud the bumble-bee makes haste,
Belated, thriftless vagrant,
And Golden-Rod is dying fast,
And lanes with grapes are fragrant;

When Gentians roll their fringes tight
To save them for the morning,
And chestnuts fall from satin burrs
Without a sound of warning;

When on the ground red apples lie
In piles like jewels shining,
And redder still on old stone walls
Are leaves of woodbine twining;

When all the lovely wayside things
Their white-winged seeds are sowing,
And in the fields, still green and fair,
Late aftermaths are growing;

When springs run low, and on the brooks,
In idle golden freighting,
Bright leaves sink noiseless in the hush
Of woods, for winter waiting;

When comrades seek sweet country haunts,
By twos and twos together,
And count like misers, hour by hour,
October's bright blue weather.

O suns and skies and flower of June,
Count all your boasts together,
Love loveth best of all the year
October's bright blue weather.

Hmmm...having written all of this out, I think I understand it better now, but I still have no clue how to explain it all to a fourth grader!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Politician at the Pearly Gates

While walking down the street one day a US senator is tragically hit by a truck and dies. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

'Welcome to heaven,' says St. Peter. 'Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you.'

'No problem, just let me in,' says the senator.

'Well, I'd like to, but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in hell and one in heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity.'

'Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in heaven,' says the senator.

'I'm sorry, but we have our rules.'

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a clubhouse and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him.
Everyone is very happy and in evening dress. They run to greet him, shake his hand, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people.

They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster, caviar and champagne.
Also present is the devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a hearty farewell and waves while the elevator rises ..

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him.
'Now it's time to visit heaven.'

So, 24 hours pass with the senator joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

'Well, then, you've spent a day in hell and another in heaven. Now choose your eternity.'

The senator reflects for a minute, then answers: 'Well,I would never have said it before, I mean heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in hell.'

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down,down, down to hell.
Now the doors of the elevator open and he's in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags as more trash falls from above. The devil comes over to him and puts his arm around his shoulder.

'I don't understand,' stammers the senator. 'Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and clubhouse, and we ate lobster and caviar, drank champagne, and danced and had a great time. Now there's just a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable. What happened?'

The devil looks at him, smiles and says.......

'Yesterday we were campaigning. Today you voted.'

Thanks Ken for sending this story.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

12 of 12 - October 2008

Just last night, I heard about a project called 12 of 12. The really simple version is, on the 12th of each month, you take "every day" pictures during the day and then select 12 of them to keep. At the end of the year, you have 12 pictures from 12 days during the year as a sort of photo diary. I did a bit of Googling tonight and found out that the idea came from a guy named Chad Darnell. Here is his blog that describes the project more fully. In any case, I started my 12 for 12 today.

7:31 AM
Up at 7:30am. Of course I don't look awake...I just woke up one minute ago!

7:32 AM
Mom and Dad's dogs spent the weekend with us. Left to right: Sully (our dog), Harley, Buster, Boo (our dog), Ralph

8:07 AM
Brooke cooked the cinnamon rolls, but when I wanted to take her picture putting the icing on them, she made me do it while she took the picture.

8:11 AM
Amanda had a friend spend the night. Here is Brooke praying with them before breakfast.

9:01 AM
Pastor David had to make himself a portable office this week. Here he is in the portable office this morning.

9:09 AM
Church picnic today. Here is James, one of our deacons, helping get stuff set up.

9:21 AM
I am helping some of the deacons set up for today's church picnic.

10:34 AM
It was my week to run the worship projector.

10:36 AM
Sunday morning worship service at Vine Fellowship. (http://www.theVineFellowship.com)

5:02 PM
Working on the bike to see what all will be involved in changing out my grips.

7:34 PM
Went on a motorcycle ride with Ed and Daniel tonight. We stopped at Dairy Queen in Cleburne, TX.

9:58 PM
Sitting down to watch "The Unit" which we DVR'd earlier. The puppies all wanted in the photo.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Only 11 More Til' 600

Brooke took Amanda and a friend to a football game today and I was left to myself with beautiful weather. What to do? Shall I go for a motorcycle ride or geocache? Why not do both? I did and found 10 out of 13 geocaches I hunted today. Only 11 more to 600!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Too Busy to Blog?

I have noticed, as well as heard from a few of my friends, that I have not been blogging regularly. It seems I keep telling myself, "When I get past this, I'll have more time". And then, as always happens, one more "this" comes up. I enjoy blogging, so I'm trying to make more time to relax and blog. So, right now, I'm relaxing, listening to Rush Limbaugh (Rush 24/7), making computer backups and blogging.

I have spent most all of my day off at Amanda's school today. Today's "journey" started when Brooke and I met with the school's administrator to volunteer at the school. One of the things I was asked to do was work on the character development curriculum with the principal. The short version: I was asked to use a certain curriculum which was designed for K-5th grade and then adapt it for 6-8th grade as well. I suggested using 7-8th graders to present the curriculum to the school complete with a plan for doing so. Next, I was asked to implement that plan. So I was at school doing that today and then substitute teachers were needed for PE. I worked with a teacher and did 5th-8th grade PE and that was fine, but I could not handle 1st-2nd grade PE. All I had to do was watch them on the playground, but it was too much for me. I could not get them still long enough to get a count to make sure I was keeping track of all of them, then there was the crying, the tattling, the climbing on the outside of the playground equipment....argh! Fortunately Brooke was also volunteering, so she took my place and sat at the front desk for her for the rest of 1st-2nd grade PE time. After I got home, it was time to start on the weekly school email announcements which I take care of and then several other emails and projects to go along with the work I had done with the 7-8th graders today. It has been a busy yet fulfilling day.

I have also spent time this week updating the church web page (as I do every week). We have been having issues with our sermon player because they are moving servers. For the first time this week, the sermon player can be seen on our sermon page, but the majority of our archived messages are not yet showing up. Since that amounts to more than a year's worth of sermons, I sure hope they have good back ups! If anybody is interested, I was just able to upload my sermon "Gaining Heaven's Perspective" from last Sunday.

My eyes are getting heavy and I will not be awake much longer. Before I go, I wanted to share a few pictures from some of our family activities these past two weeks.

Amanda was out of school Monday and Tuesday. We had originally planned to go to the Texas State Fair, but since the forecast was 80-90% chance of rain ALL day, we made a trip to Magic Time Machine for dinner instead. Amanda said it was a good substitute (and she added "we will go to the Fair next year).

As soon as Amanda saw "Captain Jack Sparrow" at Magic Time Machine, she wanted her picture taken with him.

This "interesting" picture was taken at the Frontiers of Flight museum in Dallas. A friend told us about Free Museum Day and this was the museum Amanda chose. Brooke took our picture sitting in the airline seats, but Amanda wanted a silly picture, too. She always wants a silly picture, too. Anyway, the "regular" picture was boring.

Here is Brooke and Amanda's "regular" picture in a different set of airline seats.

And here is my favorite picture of the day...Amanda sitting in the ejection seat of a jet fighter.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Dominoes Anyone?

As the pastor who oversees life groups at our church, I try to visit the various life groups a couple times each trimester, but it is hard to "leave" my group to travel. I attend the group led by Michael and Crystal Brown, and one of the really cool things they came up with for our group is a monthly outreach. Right now, the plan is to visit a nursing home the first Wednesday night of the month.

Tonight was the first night our group was supposed to visit but "somehow" over half of the group could not make it. That left Michael, Crystal and me to go visiting! We had been told we could not go visiting room-to-room but could only talk with people sitting in the dining room or common areas. I thought it might be a good idea to take a game so we could find something the people there might enjoy doing and something that might strike up a conversation. I didn't think Jenga would be a good game (the wooden blocks that are stacked where you have to have a steady hand to try and remove the blocks one at a time without tipping over the stack), so I suggested dominoes. Michael and Crystal thought that would be a good idea so we took them.

We met some people in the front lobby as we walked in, so we asked them if they would be interested in a game of dominoes. They said "no thank you" but seemed up for a visit, so we hung around and talked. It was a pleasant conversation and at the end, we offered to pray with them and they took us up on the offer. That was pretty exciting.

But that seems to be where the "that went well" ended. While Michael and I were talking to these people, Crystal went looking for some ladies to talk to. The first lady she talked to asked her to go away, so she came back and hung out with us. After that, we split up again to see if there was anybody else who walked to talk. I saw one lady sitting in a wheelchair watching TV in the lobby. I was hoping she might want to talk, and since she kept turning around in her wheelchair to watch me, I walked up to say hi.

"What are you doing here?" she demanded in a less-than-friendly tone.

"I'm just here hanging out and meeting people this evening" I said. She stared at me.

"My name is Rob". Again, she stared.

About this time, Michael walked up. I said to the lady, "I brought my dominoes to see if anybody wanted to play, but nobody seems all that interested. So I'm just walking around meeting people."

"Well, you should take those someplace else" she informed me. "And take him with you" she added, nodding toward Michael.

We wished her a good evening and walked off. As I headed toward the water fountain, I heard her carrying on, but figuring it was not all that friendly, I ignored her, walked on around the corner and got my drink. While doing so, I heard Michal say, "OK, thank you" two or three times. As I came back around the corner, Michael told me she was saying, "Not that way, over there" as she pointed to the door! I guess she was ready for us to leave.

So it was an interesting night. Most everybody was heading to bed by that time, so we went by Braums and then headed back to the church to pick up our kids. It's kinda funny to talk about now, but a bit awkward earlier this evening. Guess we'll see what happens next month.