Friday, July 14, 2006

flying & vacation

Arnie (one of the pilots in our church) rented out a piper warrior, and took me flying thursday evening. a spectacularly beautiful evening for flying. sky dotted with small clouds, sun setting, humidity haze hanging on the horizon. we flew from KARB (the ann arbor airport) to KJXN (the jackson airport). Arnie has a lot of experience as a flight instructor, and let me do basically everything except set the radios and talk to the control towers. i started up the plane, taxied to the runway, did the run-up tests, took off, flew to jackson and landed, taxied to parking, and turned off the engine. it wasn't the smoothest landing (i flared a little too much and we floated before coming down with a slight bump), but no harm done. we grabbed some boston cream pie and ice teas at the jackson airport restaurant, and Arnie gave me some pointers to implement on the way back. we flew back to the ann arbor area, where we flew over the church and our neighborhood. here's a pic i snapped from maybe 1000 ft above the ground:

Ronni heard the plane overhead, got Colin out of bed, and they stood in our back yard waving at us...I snapped some pictures, but they were a little too blurry to post.

if you've never been up in a small plane, this short video i took might give you a sense of it... (you'll need the quicktime plugin from apple to see it, i think):

we're leaving in the morning for our family vacation - up to long lake with Mom, Dad, Grace, Amy, Ben, and Nick, then to Mackinaw Island for a couple of days, and then to the Washington, D.C. area. we'll be back before the first weekend in august. if i come across some internet cafes, i'll see about doing a litte blogging while we're away.

it's funny, as much as i'm looking forward to being on vacation, i'm sure going to miss being at church. i met with Al, Cathy, and Steve (the people who are speaking the weekends we're away) yesterday, and they've got some awesome messages in the cooker. at least i'll be able to catch them on CD when i get back. then Ronni showed me the songs the worship team learned at rehearsal this week, songs that Manny and the team will be leading over the next couple of weeks. great tunes! can't wait to hear them. plus, compassion ministry is approaching 1 million lbs given away since it's inception 8 years ago, and preparations are in full swing for a celebration to give thanks to God for his faithfulness and allowing us to play. hopefully, i'll be able to be back before the actual milestone hits.

Monday, July 10, 2006

driving range

Colin and i went to the driving range last night. for the first time, he had the patience to learn how to properly hold the club, line up his feet, keep his head down, rotate his hips, etc. he sure is a can see the video by clicking on the picture below - i think it will play right within your browser (my first attempt at uploading a video from my cameraphone; we'll see how it goes):

Friday, July 7, 2006

wonder, part 11

Ronni and i were married 11 years ago today, in rockwood, mi. my dad performed the ceremony, and in his nervousness (which is funny, come to think of it, because i don't ever recall seeing him nervous before or since) forgot the whole "you may now kiss the bride part" and tried to send us off for the recessional. as the music began to play and people began to cheer, i turned around to him and asked, "don't i get to kiss her?" we all had a good laugh, Dad delivered the forgotten lines, and the rest is becoming history...

in honor of our 11th anniversary, and in light of the previous post, here's a poem i wrote for my bride a couple of years ago. it's entitled wonder. doesn't do her justice, not even close. nonetheless, here it is.

like a harvest moon
hanging in the heavens
filling my view

or a bright sunrise
interrupting the clouds
dancing on the rain

you’re more than anyone expects
most of all me


watched the Milan fireworks from the backyard tonight...Elle got too tired to stay at the Livingstons where Ronni and Colin watched with the Brennans, the Grays, Amy Lozen, Brett and his kids, and of course the Livingstons. so while Elle slept, i watched and listened. it was cool to hear the whole city cheering when it was and approval in surround sound, most of it concentrated in the south, towards the river, but claps and whistles from every direction, rising up to the heavens. a beautiful night, too, the moon hanging majestically, serenely looking on. could have sworn i caught a hint of a smile on it's face.

when i came inside, i found this video. breathtaking, for me. then again, i'm a sucker for wonder.

Thursday, July 6, 2006

one of those lists

currently reading:
simply christian, by N.T. Wright
a generous orthodoxy, by Brian McLaren
masters of chaos: a secret history of the special forces, by Linda Robinson
good to great, by Jim Collins
ephesians, by Paul

magazines in my bathroom:

most recent albums:
saeglopur, by Sigur Ros
dusk and summer, by Dashboard Confessional
everything glorious, by the Passion Worship Band
time without consequence, by Alexi Murdoch
walking it out, by Matt McCoy
under the iron sea, by Keane
this new day, by Embrace
all from you, by Vineyard UK
surprise, by Paul Simon

recent theater films:
superman returns

on my shelf from intelliflix:
the exorcism of emily rose

fifa world cup '06 (360)
table tennis (360)

one year bible (NIV)
the divine hours: prayers for summertime (compiled by Phyllis Tickle)
paul for everyone, by Tom Wright



the dove descending breaks the air
with flame of incandescent terror
of which the tongues declare
the one discharge from sin and error.
the only hope, or else despair
lies in the choice of pyre or pyre -
to be redeemed from fire by fire.

who then devised the torment? love.
love is the unfamiliar Name
behind the hands that wove
the intolerable shirt of flame
which human power cannot remove.
we only live, only suspire
consumed by either fire or fire.

T.S. Eliot, Little Gidding, IV

Monday, July 3, 2006

4th of July

technically, it's the 4th as i begin this post, but functionally it's still the 3rd for me, here at 12:58 a.m. big lightning storm going on outside, mixed with various local fireworks displays. strange combination, in that you have to wait for thunder (or the lack thereof) before you can tell what caused the curtains to glow.

played some foosball with Colin this morning, and then taught him to play the table tennis game on the xbox360. he was actually pretty decent at the table tennis; still a little too short to be very effective at foosball, though. then he and i went to IKEA to get a bookshelf and some lights. unbelieveably busy out there today, but we had a great time together listening to Bill Cosby CD's in the van as we drove. he loves helping me build stuff, so he handed me dowels and shelves and we assembled it this afternoon before my chiropractic appointment.

played some soccer out at the church fields with Ross, Mark, and Robert - mainly just practiced penalty kicks since there were only the 4 of us. then we came back to our house and played a little FIFA World Cup on the 360 before calling it a night.

in an interesting coincidence, Steve Yzerman (heart and soul of Detroit's professional hockey team, the Red Wings) announced his retirement today and Ben Wallace (heart and soul of Detroit's professional basketball team, the Pistons) announced he's leaving the Pistons and signing with the Bulls. Yzerman's glory won't fade in the city, that's for sure. but Big Ben's? hard to tell. too bad. remarkable how much boils down to finishing well. sure hope i do. by the grace of God.

Sunday, July 2, 2006

anzubetvergnügen, frappucinovergnügen, foosballvergnügen

the title of this post, loosely constructed in German, loosely tranlated: the joy of worship, the joy of frappucinos and the joy of foosball (remember Volkswagon's fahrvergnügen ad campaign, meaning the joy of driving?)

the worship team was kickin' it today at church - feel so lucky to get to go to church with great musicians. Ronni took the chorus of the opening song, "come, now is the time to worship" and spliced it into the end of the opening set - "come, just as you are... come, just as you are..." over and over, transforming a lyric that in the original context is an exhortation for us to come to God's presence just as we are, into an invitation to God to dwell among us just as he is (not that he'd ever come any other way). beautiful.

after church i watched the kids (they were napping most of the time, so don't give me too much credit) while Ronni went and hung out at Starbucks for a while. she returned with a carmel frappucino for me, and a ping pong game for the 360. what a deal, eh? beautiful.

this evening, my dad came over, along with a cool guy named D. (short for Devonathon) who'd needed a place to stay for the weekend (which worked out well at my parents this weekend, since my mom and Grace are in Virginia Beech). D. and my dad helped me build the foosball table Ronni and the kids got me for father's day a couple of weeks ago. we did everything wrong, twice, and it took three times as long as it should have, but we miraculously remained in good spirits throughout the ordeal, and ended up being able to get a few games in before calling it a night. just a couple of less consequential pieces are missing, so i'll call the manufacturer tomorrow, and hopefully they'll ship them out to me.

looking forward to playing with some of my friends (and Colin as he grows) in the days and weeks to come. maybe someday i'll get good enough to beat my Uncle Kit. in my 35 years of life, i've never beat him singlehandedly, and almost never 2 on 1. even if i don't get substantially better, i'm figuring his reflexes will have to slow down when he hits 100 or so, and then i'll have a chance. not that my 85 year old reflexes will be much better than his at that point. gives me something to shoot for, though.

Saturday, July 1, 2006

this past week, part 2

picking up from the previous post...

wednesday was filled with meetings, and i had my first workout at the rec center in at least a month. that felt good, for sure. went to my sister Grace's ballet recital in the evening, with Ronni, Colin, and Elle. she was awesome, as usual. didn't get to catch her afterwards, as she had to jet (literally) to Virginia Beach for the Nationals Field Hockey tournament. my mom sent this picture from her match today (Grace is the one slicing up the middle of the field, leaving frustrated defenders in her wake):

more meetings at church on thursday, followed by some study of Ephesians for the summer of love message series at church. thursday evening we went over to the Brennan's for dinner, where we hung out with Rich, Andrea, Conner, and Haylie, and we met Vladimir, Sarah, and their daughter Dasha (sp?). Vladimir is from Khazakstan, so it was fascinating talking with him about his homeland and his experiences here. we had a great time, and left Colin there for a sleepover with Conner. it was strange to be at home with only Ronni and Elle. Ronni and I realized some portion of every day will be like that come next fall, when Colin starts kindergarden.

friday worked on writing the sermon for the sunday, and went to see Superman Returns in IMAX 3D with Phil, Don, and John. thoroughly enjoyable film, especially the 3d parts. sometimes i think to myself, how lucky am i to be alive in 2006? speaking of 2006, Phil and I played two epic FIFA World Cup 2006 matches between China and Germany after the movie over xbox live. both went into penalty kicks, one won by me, one by Phil. what a great piece of software that is.

saturday, finished up the semon and put the multimedia together in the morning. installed some motion sensor porch lights in the early afternoon, and went to Phil's birthday party in the evening, where we had much fun socializing, watching world cup soccer, and playing more FIFA World Cup. Set everything up at church for the morning, and now here i am typing...

this past week, part 1

just got home from Phil's birthday party, where Mark threatened to take me off his blogroll if i didn't post soon. point taken. posting in process...

really enjoyed the celebration last sunday. as Bono might have said, God walked through the room. had a working session with the church board in the afternoon; encouraged about the direction Jesus seems to be leading us re: leadership development, discipleship infrastructure, etc. after coming home and hanging out with Ronni and the kids for a bit, Blue drove by with an invite to twightlight golf at Huron Hills, on the banks of the river. much fun had with Blue, Matt, and Jimbo. Matt and i won the two man scramble (in a playoff chipoff), and were treated to Coldstone Creamery for our efforts.

monday (day off) took a trip out to the new Canton IKEA with Don, Julie, Eve, Ronni, Colin, and Elle. IKEA's like the Mecca or Jerusalem of inexpensive contemporary furnishings. crazy cool, and crazy cheap, relatively speaking. they've mastered the family shopping experience, with a huge childcare / play area for kids, cafe, great layout, fast checkout, the whole nine yards. had a ton of fun hanging out with Don and Julie and Eve, especially since we hadn't seen them in a while. played soccer in the evening at church with a bunch of guys (and a few girls, too). Mark Morsfield jr. dominated, effortlessly, it seemed to me.

spent most of tuesday in Lansing, meeting early in the morning with the crew that went to Russia this spring for a mission's partnership meeting, and then with the east michigan area vineyard pastors. Steve drove me there and back, and we had a great time talking, observing stuff God's up to in the church and in our lives, even a little blueskying. homegroup was really rich tuesday evening. Phil and Amy shared the story of their lives and relationships with each other and with Jesus, and then we prayed for them afterwards. to sat. in the next post...