Ocean City Pastors Meeting

Yesterday I met for the first time with the pastors group in Ocean City.  It was great getting to meet them!  We tossed around some ideas for upcoming events.  They asked me to preach at the sunrise service on Easter.  They told me it’s at 6:00 a.m. and has about 1,000-1,500 people, so of course I tried to think of an excuse not to.  But then I felt guilty so I agreed to do it.  It sounds very early and very scary, but what a great opportunity to share Jesus with a lot of people!

I’m hoping that I’ll really get to know this group of pastors like I’ve gotten to know the group from Berlin.

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Published in: on February 19, 2008 at 2:03 pm  Comments (2)  

Weekend Recap

A recap of this fun and busy weekend:

  •  On Friday we went to Oxford, Pennsylvania to spend the night at Michael & Kristen’s house (Carolyn’s sister & her husband).  We hung out with them for awhile that night and ate some totally delicious cake that Kristen had made.
  • On Saturday we went to Sight & Sound Theater to see Daniel.  It was so awesome!  Every production they do is great.  The script for this one wasn’t as good as the others, but the staging and special effects were by far the best.  Unbelievable.  I don’t know how they do that stuff!  Carolyn’s parents gave her the tickets for Christmas, and the seats were some of the best in the house.  They were so good that we bought the same seats for an August showing of In the Beginning.

  • Before going to the show we stopped at BB’s in Quarryville.  They were out of coffee, but I stocked up on seltzer water that was discounted big time.  They even had some Perrier.  Nice.
  • For dinner on Saturday we stopped at Grotto Pizza in Seaford.  Grotto’s has the second-best pizza on the Atlantic coast.  It totally hit the spot.
  • Yesterday at CrossWay was week two of “Hollywood God.”  We used clips from Ratatouille to see how the Holy Spirit works in our lives.  In this way it was very different from The Pursuit of Happyness last week.  With Ratatouille what mattered was not so much the storyline; instead, it served as an illustration of how the Spirit works in our lives.  In a nutshell: Remy the rat could cook, but Linguini could not.  So they figured out a way for Remy to guide and control Linguini so that could cook together as a team.  Nobody could see Remy at work, but they saw the amazing results.  Our cooperation with the Spirit of God works in a very similar way.  The podcast will be up tomorrow.  (But, like last week, we’re editing out the video clips for copyright reasons.)  Next week: Rocky Balboa!
  • After church yesterday, Carolyn and I ate lunch with her parents, then headed to their house to paint.  I’ve gotten to a very frustrating point in my painting pursuit.  I’m at the place where it’s time to add finishing details, and I just can’t seem to do it.  When Linda explains how to do it, it makes sense.  And I’ll even watch her do it.  But it just doesn’t seem to work for me.  Frustrating as it is, I’m going to keep trying because I really enjoy it.  Meanwhile, Carolyn is nearly finished with two beautiful paintings.  (She’s got the artistic genes!)  Both are from photographs she took in Tennessee.  One is a close up of a butterfly, the other is a scene from Cades Cove, with mountains, a meadow, and a deer.  (When she’s finished, I’ll see if she’ll let me post pictures of them.)
  • Today is a day off for both of us (except for a meeting I have to go to).  Hopefully we’ll get to do some more painting.  I’m starting a third picture.  Yesterday I did the initial sketch.  It’s a close up from a Sports Illustrated cover, showing that amazing midfield fourth-quarter catch that the Giants made in the closing minutes of the Super Bowl.  (Carolyn’s dad, a big Pats fan, suggested that maybe in my painting the guy could drop the ball!)
Published in: on February 18, 2008 at 10:21 am  Comments (5)  

The Hobbit

Until recently I had never read anything by J.R.R. Tolkien.  So finally, at long last, I read The Hobbit.  Coming into it, I had no idea what to expect.  That’s a good thing, because it was very different from anything I’d ever read before.  Definitely a good book.  It seems to fit into a weird genre that’s only written by English people.  It was written for kids, but at an adult reading level.

Anyway, I don’t know what else to say about it.  It took me forever to read it–about six weeks!  Kind of makes me timid about tackling the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Published in: on February 16, 2008 at 5:23 am  Comments (2)  

Disney Princesses On Ice

Yeah, you read that right. Last night Carolyn and I went to see the Disney Princesses On Ice show in Salisbury. It was a Valentine’s Day gift because she’s all into that stuff. It was already kind of embarrassing, but it went real bad real fast. But I’ll get to that part.

Carolyn and I don’t tend to go on traditional dates. We both know what we like, and it tends to be kind of different. For example, one of our favorite places to eat is Sam’s. Their pizza is sooo good. Eight bucks is a date at Sam’s–and that includes dessert! That’s how we ended up having our Valentine’s Day dinner at IHOP. Carolyn is pretty serious about her pancakes, and she’s been wanting to go there for awhile. So we did. She got blueberry pancakes. And she liked ’em. I exercised a little self-control and got a chicken–grilled, not fried–spinach salad. It was actually really good! Oddly enough, they forgot to include half the ingredients: bacon pieces, tomatoes, and bleu cheese (ooh, how fancy, let’s misspell a word to make it seem all top-shelf and stuff). Even more oddly, when our waitress brought out the missing ingredients in some little cups, I was grateful to God that the cook had forgotten to mix them in. The bacon was fatty. The tomatoes… well, they weren’t even red. And bleu cheese? Do people actually eat that stuff? It looks and smells like dirty, sweaty socks dropped in a blender. And it tastes even worse. But the salad was excellent without all that stuff.

After our Valentine’s dinner at IHOP, we headed to the Civic Center for Disney Princesses On Ice. Now I must explain that this clearly shows how much I love my wife. We’re walking across the parking lot to go inside, I’m just trying to spot another dude, and all I’m seeing are a bunch of mommies with their four-year-old daughters dressed in Cinderella costumes. And here we are without even a kid.

Nervously I looked around as we walked to our seats, afraid I’d see someone I know. Disney Princesses On Ice. How could I explain that? With embarrassment I spotted one of the families from the Training Station Preschool nearby, but they didn’t seem to see me, so I didn’t go out of my way to make my presence known. Close call.

I wanted to get the best possible seats, so when I ordered them online, I chose front row in a corner. Since I couldn’t tell exactly which side would be the front, I bought two seats in the corner, figuring that one of them had to be the front. How little did I know….

We were directed by one usher, then another, until we reached our seats. I knew it was front row, but this was ridiculous. Our seats were cushioned folding chairs literally three feet from the ice. But it was dark, so I still didn’t have to worry too much about feeling self-conscious from someone I know with kids seeing me. An announcer over the loudspeaker told us it was show time, and the arena went black.

And then a big bright spotlight shone directly on me. No kidding. The whole arena is black as night… except for a gazillion-watt spotlight that’s fixed on me. What the?!? Is this some kind of bad dream? Surely I’m imagining this. Was it something in the IHOP food?!?

This lasted for perhaps five seconds, but it felt like five minutes. Then a DJ from the local country station stood in front of me with a mic and started talking to the audience… about what, I have no idea. I was too mortified, just waiting for him to stop so people would look somewhere else.

Turns out that the corner right in front of our seats had a little platform that served as one of the stages. So I had the great fun of basking in the Disney princess spotlight for much of the two-hour show. We were so close I could see the ice shavings on a giant dwarf’s butt:

I even had to share the spotlight–literally–with Sleeping Beauty as she received true love’s first kiss:

Awkward.

Here I’m sharing a special, bright spotlight moment with Belle:

As entertaining as the performance was, the thousand tiny princesses in the audience were just as entertaining.  It was hilarious watching them get freaked out whenever an oversized costumed character got too close.  And when Snow White contemplated biting the poisonous apple, a thundering chorus of squeaky little voices shouted: “Nooo! Noooo!”  It felt kind of weird being surrounded by a multitude of miniscule Cinderellas, Snow Whites, Sleeping Beauties, etc., but it was pretty cute and extremely funny.  After the show a bunch of tiny princesses ran up to the ice to wave at and shake hands with the skating Disney princesses.  It was really funny to think that in the minds of these little kids, these were the real princesses!

The first half of the show told the stories of six Disney princesses.  There was one glaring omission, but as intermission approached, Goofy skated out carrying a pair of glass slippers, so everyone knew what was coming in the second half.

At halftime-I mean, intermission-Carolyn rushed to the restroom, and just in time.  When she came out a couple minutes later, the line was so long that there were three-foot-tall Cinderellas practically wrapped around the building.  Meanwhile the men’s room was so empty it echoed.

As we made our way back to our seats, we ran into the Coleman family from the Gathering Tree.  I started telling John about my embarrassing spotlight experience at the beginning of the show, but I didn’t make it very far before he started laughing and said, “Yeah, that was most excellent.”  Great.  It was every bit as obvious as I’d thought.  They weren’t even sitting anywhere near us!  So I did the only thing I could think of: with an extra firm handshake I lowered my voice as deep as I could and told John to enjoy the Cinderella portion of the show.

It was really cool that they gave the second half of the performance to Cinderella, because she’s Carolyn’s favorite.

Apparently Carolyn was the favorite of this little baby who kept staring at her:

By the way, that baby gnawed on a bag of cotton candy and probably ingested half the thing.

The costumes and staging were absolutely amazing.  Ever since Carolyn and I started trying to paint a few weeks ago, I’ve been a lot more observant and appreciative of color, texture, light, shadow, and stuff like that.  And these things were as dazzling in this show as they are in the animated Disney classics.  The whole thing was definitely top notch.  It’s one of those things you’d just have to see to understand.  I kept kicking myself for not bringing Carolyn’s camera.  We could have taken some seriously cool pictures!  My little camera phone, as you can see, just didn’t cut it.  (For one thing, it couldn’t handle the intense brightness of that dang spotlight!)

Equally impressive was the talent of the performers.  Their skill was mind blowing!  I can’t believe people can ice skate like that!  And I can’t believe that people who can ice skate like that aren’t using their skills to play ice hockey.  But hey, they’re doing their thing, and they certainly excel at it.

After the show we hurried out to the car to beat the traffic.  Our hurry was totally unnecessary.  The parking lot was full of people, but hardly a car was moving because they were all strapping in their kids.

It was a fun night and a fun show.  If any of you in the Salisbury area read this in time, I’d encourage you to check it out.  It’s running tonight and tomorrow.

But be sure to bring a kid.  And don’t sit in the corner of the very first row, especially if you’re a dude… and a kidless one at that….

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 1:05 pm  Comments (2)  

&$%!^?*

GRRRRR

Sometimes I hate WordPress.  I just wrote a very lengthy entry, and when I tried to post it, half of it disappeared.

GRRRRR

Published in: on February 15, 2008 at 2:04 am  Leave a Comment  

Snowy Lake CrossWay

Here’s Lake CrossWay again, after a couple inches of snow and a warm rising sun:

Published in: on February 14, 2008 at 10:33 am  Leave a Comment  

Lake CrossWay

It’s unbelievable how hard it rained yesterday!  It seemed like each raindrop was gallon-sized.  Now the place is flooded.  Here’s the lawn in front of the church:

It was tempting to pull out the old raft and lounge in Lake CrossWay!

Published in: on February 14, 2008 at 5:53 am  Leave a Comment  

Valentines

The past couple days Carolyn and I have been writing valentines for a bunch of kids.  She’s been working on valentines for her students, and I’ve been working on them for the children at the Training Station.

It sure does bring back memories!  It’s been over 20  years since I’ve done the whole valentine thing.  Not until doing them as an adult did I realize how weird this tradition is–especially for two-, three-, and four-year-olds who can’t even read.  But it sure is cute to see how much they’re getting into Valentine’s Day!

Published in: on February 13, 2008 at 7:45 am  Leave a Comment  

Obama Landslide

Whoa.  I can’t believe how badly Barack Obama crushed Hillary Clinton in the voting booth yesterday!

Yesterday morning I listened to Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” and they were talking about how unlikely it was that Obama would take the lead in delegates yesterday.  One guy said that he would have to take 70% in D.C. and 60% in Maryland and Virginia.  Last I saw, he won 76% in D.C., 62% in Maryland, and 64% in Virginia!  Dag!  I don’t think anyone expected to see this kind of momentum.

Obama has now edged past Clinton in the projected delegate count.  This is getting interesting!  I wonder what will happen with Ohio and Texas on March 4….

I just saw that Michelle Obama gave a speech at a local university yesterday.  Interesting.  We don’t see that much national political action here on the Shore.

Published in: on February 13, 2008 at 5:22 am  Comments (3)  

Hollywood God Podcast

The first podcast from our “Hollywood God” series at CrossWay is now available.  It’s based on the movie The Pursuit of Happyness (see this post).  Because of copyright restrictions we’ve had to edit the movie clips out of the podcast.  (Just so you know why there are some weird transitions.)

You can access the podcast by using one of the links on the right side of this page.

Published in: on February 12, 2008 at 4:02 pm  Leave a Comment