Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
Tonight, I was sitting at the dining room table and heard sounds of the marching band coming across the field. Jenn has talked about how she enjoys hearing the bands practicing at the college. I also enjoy hearing the music drift across the school yard from the high school. Tonight, I was surprised by the volume of the band. Even though they are still a pretty small group (this is only the second year of marching band following a several year hiatus), their dynamics and ability to achieve an impressive volume are awesome. The sounds of the fight song stirred up some pretty fond memories of marching band at Bremen and St. Joe. (Interestingly enough, two college first-year students started band at St. Joe ten years ago this August. That is pretty hard to believe!) I just had this amazing compulsion to go over to the track in order to better hear and see the band. Later, I had the opportunity to talk with the director and am so pleased by his enthusiasm and his restoration of the band program.
Sunday, June 28, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Where in the heck is the charger for my cell phone? Ben can attest that for the next 1/2 hour I scrambled around the house trying to find the charger cord.
Why? Well, the battery on the phone is not fully charged and the Oswego plant zaps the battery. All I could think about was getting into a bind out in New York and my phone being dead. So I guess the cell phone (and charger) kind of provide a sense of security. I remember quite vividly being at the Syracuse airport in December during a blizzard and using the cell phone to talk to the travel agent, my boss, the travel agent... you get the point.
Eventually, though, I realized that the charger was not going to be found and the opportunity for a reasonable sleep was rapidly fading. (It was already 11:00 and my 5:00 AM depart time was rapidly approaching.)
So I took a deep breath, turned off the phone (to save the battery), went to bed, and slept.
This morning, when I got to the plant to pick up the car, I reached into my computer bag and pulled out the phone charger.
Honestly, I don't remember putting the charger in the bag and I had just carried the bag into the house before starting to look for the charger. So I must have walked in the door with the bag, seen the charger, and immediatley put into the bag without even thinking about it or... well, who knows?
Monday, June 22, 2009
Sunday, June 21, 2009
At any rate, I was reminded of a point that Jim brings up pretty regularly:
Insanity: Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
I also thought about how often I find myself running around in circles - "fixing" things for the third, fourth, fifth times, trying to find my keys or sunglasses, letting anxieties and frustrations cycle back through time and and time again.
Yet, Jesus offers this seemingly simple way out of these circles:
"Come, follow me." (Matthew 4:19a)
Saturday, June 20, 2009
Later, I thought more about flying kite and it kind of reminded me about life. The journey is certainly filled with a lot of highs and lows. Some days we really are soaring to the highest heights, but the reality of it is we live in a broken world. With this brokenness can some some pretty serious nose dives. I guess in my life, these highs and lows are most clear in my work (perhaps incorrectly translated in my mind as purpose). My expectations are often way too high for me and for others. Of course, this often leads to disappointment and frustration. At work, I also have profound desires to improve, communicate, meet goals, and positively impact others. Of course, these desires can also lead to disappointments and frustrations. Finally, I just struggle with something so deep - a longing to make a difference in the world. At its worst, all this leads to incredible feelings of doubt - almost a sort of numbness.
In all of this, it is incredibly hard to distinguish between self-talk, God's voice, the voices of friends, emotions, and logical thinking. My hope is that prayer and reflection on scripture will help to clear out some of the clutter squelching God's voice.
Thursday, June 18, 2009
"senior chemist at Copperfield (after five years not sure what that means) ... finished masters degree in materials and chemical synthesis from IIT ... play keyboard in worship band at Horizon Ministries...."
The other night, I decided to change this "about me" section:
Learner. Thinker. Perceptive. Passionate. Thirsty. Seeker.
I guess this has been on my mind after recently reaching my 29th birthday.
What I noticed about my "about me" section is that each attribute was attached to something: work, school, church, etc.
Matthew talks about identity:
5:48"In a word, what I'm saying is, Grow up. You're kingdom subjects. Now live like it. Live out your God-created identity. Live generously and graciously toward others, the way God lives toward you."
The verse doesn't say "live out your Copperfield-created identity, IIT created identity, Horizon created identity."
The verse says live out your God-created identity.
This is something that I want to do - take the attributes God has given me - and live out my God-created identity.
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
On Saturday, I was able to get out to the farm (on my bike) for a later lunch of BLT's. (Yes, bacon!) When I walked into the dining room, I noticed this dress hanging from one of the cabinet doors.
This was no ordinary dress.
So I proceeded to inquire a little bit more and Mom shared her side of the story. She has been been wanting to get a dress for Chad and Meg's upcoming wedding, but hadn't really found anything yet. So she had a day off from work and took off to Treat's in Plymouth. (At this point, she said Grandma Huff would have been so pleased - and she would have!!) She quickly saw a dress that she liked and even the shoes to go with it. However, she told the lady that was helping her that she needed to go home and talk it over with her husband. The lady said that they would hold it for 24 hours for her to decide. Back at home, Dad said that she should get it. Meg also said to get it. So the next day, Mom took off back to Plymouth to pick up the dress. The same lady was there from the day before but I guess she seemed a little worked up. Mom's immediate thought was that they had sold the dress already to someone else. The lady pulled out the slip and it said balance zero. Still not quite sure what was going on, Mom was now getting a little upset because she was sure someone else had bought the dress. Well, someone else had...
The lady at the store was so excited and I guess even a bit emotional. Mom was so pleased. (For the ladies out there, don't worry, she bought the shoes, too.)
Anyway, thanks Mom and Dad for a great story.
Mom, you deserve it.
Great work, Dad.
Monday, June 15, 2009
After getting back from the run, I made some coffee in the French press (thanks Jenn!!). For the next two hours or so, I just lay on the front porch. This has become one of my favorite Sunday morning activities. I take the sleeping bag and a blanket out to the porch with several pillows and just lay there reading as the sun (and temperature) continue to rise. This is a beautiful time in the morning. I've been reading a book, The Five Love Languages. (More to follow on that book in another post.)
After reading for awhile, I put the front racks on my bike and took it for a test ride to the farm. Each pack had 2 textbooks for a total of 8 textbooks on the bike. It is great that all those books are finally getting some use again!
After a nice lunch with my mom, I headed back into town to meet Tim for a bike ride. We road for about an hour and fifteen minutes and then headed to the pool to dive for rings. We did this last year and it was great fun to go for it again this year. We throw three rings per person out at a time and the goal is to pick them all up in one dive. We are getting pretty proficient at this. Swimming time ended with some aqua jogging.
Then, Ben and I headed out on a covert operation that has been in the works for some time. Georgia called and said all was clear so we took off in our white shirts and skinny black ties to help out in a mission. At the Miles' house, we picked up food and some other gear. We left a little bit nerous following a warning from Georgia to make sure that the basket did not end up in the lake. At Mary and Jerry's, we loaded the food and gear in the speedboat and we took off with Jerry across the lake for the rendezvous with the pontoon boat that had left probably 20 minutes earlier. As planned, we found Trent and Abby. Well, she said, "Yes," and so we served up the food for their dinner. (Fortunately, Georgia sent food for the help, too!) Photographer Ben snapped a lot of great pics. I got to be a food artist when placing the strawberries on the cheesecake and managed to get the plates to and from the table without breaking anything. Special congratulations to Trent and Abby! Thanks for your friendship, and I wish you the very best in the journey to come!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Saturday, June 13, 2009
May God bless and keep you always,
May your wishes all come true,
May you always do for others
And let others do for you.
May you build a ladder to the stars,
And climb on every rung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.
May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.
May your hands always be busy,
May your feet always be swift,
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift.
May your heart always be joyful,
May your song always be sung,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.
Tonight, at dinner, the discussion involved this idea of people growing up. One person commented that a lot of people never really grow up. He said that they get kind of stuck in some kind of teenage rebellious limbo and never get out.
I'm not sure what Bob thought was he was singing these lyrics, but when I listen to the lyrics, it is not that kind of "young." Nor is it some kind of fountain-of-youth type of young.
For me, the song overflows with the dreams, awe, and joy of youth. It exudes possibilities and promise.
It is a song about living.
It is so easy to fall into traps... to forget to dream... to just go through the motions... to just sit around waiting for the "good life" (retirement)... to focus on presents and not presence... to long for more of the material when there never can be enough... believe me, the list goes on.
But what about the dreams of making a difference, making the world a better place?
But what about gazing up into the night sky and shouting out awe upon seeing a shooting star?
But what about the joy and zeal of creating that special fort in the woods?
This passage from Mark came to mind:
13-16The people brought children to Jesus, hoping he might touch them. The disciples shooed them off. But Jesus was irate and let them know it: "Don't push these children away. Don't ever get between them and me. These children are at the very center of life in the kingdom. Mark this: Unless you accept God's kingdom in the simplicity of a child, you'll never get in." Then, gathering the children up in his arms, he laid his hands of blessing on them.So maybe Bob was right on with this song.
Thursday, June 11, 2009
Two of the students in the group are siblings and like many families money is a little tight right now. However, my friend shared that the brother knocked on his door one evening with money for both of the siblings to go on the trip. A bit surprised, my friend casually inquired about the money and the brother replied that his sister raided her savings accounts and decided to pay for both of them to go on the trip. We live in a society that seems to be focusing increasingly on the self - on having the the right clothing, having more money, living in the right neighborhood. Yet, this young lady really stepped out and selflessly gave of her own probably limited and hard-earned funds to support her brother. I really admire her and am thankful to have heard the story.
Just over a week, I wrote about Pentecost after playing trumpet at a service and listening to an outstanding message. Today, I returned to Acts again and didn't get much past the first verse:
1 In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach
Today, one word in this verse stood out. Actually, tonight something else stands out, too.
First, the word:
In the first book, Luke wrote about what Jesus began to do - not what he had completed or finished. No, he wrote about what Jesus had started. It is pretty cool how much later the verse was enumerated as it is in the NIV. Why? The verse does not end in a period. Jesus began something and their is more to the story.
The young lady in my friend's group is part of the rest of the story.
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
This past Saturday was another one of those moments. At the Notre Dame football stadium, I had the chance to run through the tunnel to the sounds of the ND fight song and finish my first 1/2 marathon. Sports and anything athletic have always been something that I have kind of feared. I just always felt really awkward with anything sports-related so my experiences were limited pretty much to t-ball, elementary basketball camp, and some church-league softball. So just to finish this run was pretty amazing.
Tonight, another leap. Recently I noticed a posting in the mathematics department at Bethel - the school where I'm working on my MBA - for adjunct faculty. Although both of my degrees are in chemistry, I have a pretty extensive background in math. So I was pretty excited to get an email to come up for an interview. They will get back with me a week or so but just the thought seemed pretty exciting.
The last year has included several other leaps - the most amazing leap occurring in the last six months. I'm really looking forward to the leaps to come.
Jim included this verse in Saturday's message:
Romans 5:2 - And that's not all. We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand--out in the wide open spaces of God's grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.
I'm so thankful for these leaps - for these throwing open of doors, these discoveries - and for God's love - a love that conquers fears.
1 John 4:18 - There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
First, Dad shared a letter that he had written to Grandma. This letter was powerful, but I think the more striking image was that Mom stood right there with him. They made it through together. Mom even read a portion of it that Dad was not able to read.
Second, right before the funeral, Grandma's entire Sunday school class lined up and gathered around the open casket for one last farewell. I guess that these two images are so permanently etched in my mind because they so beautifully capture a sense of togetherness - of being together on this journey of life.
Wednesday, June 3, 2009
This evening on the plane, I continued reading Acts 2 (and went back to Acts 1, t00). I have been really intrigued by these chapters. One thing that I have done is just to circle words that stick out to me.
These words all in some way convey life in the Spirit.
Lately, I have been trying to think less about me, Todd, and trying to think more about others. With this shift in focus, interestingly enough, some of these words are starting to become more "real" in my life after kind of an extended stay in the desert.
Monday, June 1, 2009
This actually was a really interesting and symbolic service. Two churches came together as one. Two congregations - two families of believers - combined to create one new church.
Interestingly, this celebration occurred on Pentecost.
Honestly, I would not even have known it was Pentecost on Sunday if I hadn't played trumpet at this new church.
Honestly, I've never even really thought much about Pentecost.
And, yet, it is one of the most important days in the Christian calendar.
So, as I was playing trumpet during the processional, I saw my brother and others carrying in the large, empty cross from the former Grace church and I glanced and those assembled under the headship of the resurrected Jesus.
This Jesus who conquered death.
This Jesus who turned the world upside down.
This Jesus who broke the status quo.
This Jesus who called people to abandon their lives and follow him.
This Jesus who reached out to those on the margin.
This Jesus who honored the Old Testament but started a New Testament.
Dr. Cindy Reynolds reflected on Acts 2 during the message.
She particularly highlighted the beginning and ending of the chapter.
"When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place." (2:1)
"Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, 'What does this mean?'" (2:12)
At Pentecost, the waiting of generations is over.
The Holy Spirit comes down and....
Promises are fulfilled.
Power fills the people in such away that they boldly proclaim Jesus so that the entire world can understand.
So it was pretty amazing to look around at two churches becoming one in this modern-day Pentecost celebration of sorts. I'm pretty thankful that the trumpet served as the instrument to participating in this celebration.