Sunday, July 25, 2010

"Keep It Simple"

Jesus now called the Twelve and gave them authority and power to deal with all the demons and cure diseases. He commissioned them to preach the news of God's kingdom and heal the sick. He said, "Don't load yourselves up with equipment. Keep it simple; you are the equipment. And no luxury inns—get a modest place and be content there until you leave. If you're not welcomed, leave town. Don't make a scene. Shrug your shoulders and move on." (Luke 9:1-5, The Message)
I read these verses from Luke while spending some time in my office at Lake Banet. An image from this past week entered into my mind upon reading, "Keep it simple; you are the equipment." On Tuesday, Jenn and I did our normal 4.25 mi run. Lately, I've been running an additional mile after this run. This works out great because we are able to run to the athletic complex on campus. Then, Jenn turns right and heads home. I turn left and take another pass through campus. On this last pass, I took the alternate way around the grotto from our normal route and came across a substantial pile of branches, brush, and twigs. "Hmm," I thought, "that was sure nice of someone to clean up in the grotto." Later, I was so pleased to find out that this was Jenn's work. In reflecting today, I was also excited to think about the simplistic beauty of her actions - of her being God's tool to help in the maintenance efforts of this haven of peace.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

SJC Camping Extravaganze III: Oh Yeah!

This past weekend, Jenn and I joined friends from my college dorm, Bennett Hall, for SJC Camping Extravaganza III. Perhaps, the youngest member of our camping group, Bennett, summarized the weekend most eloquently...

He kept running around exclaiming, "Oh yeah!"

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

God's Air Conditioning

Over the past few weeks, Jenn and I have spent several Saturday and Sunday afternoons at Lake Banet on the campus of our alma mater, St. Joseph's College. This past Sunday, Jenn and I sat on our new beach chairs... in the lake. We read our books and enjoyed the silence.

The beach is nestled away from US231 just enough that the sounds of the cars and semis are only barely audible. No houses and yards disrupt the shore-line. Two lifeguards were the only other people at the beach. Okay, another lady is there almost all the time, but she usually is off on her own. So, yes, we were reading and enjoying the silence.

Yet, it wasn't really silent at all. The breeze rustled the leaves. The birds harmonized in the trees. The occasional movement of Jenn's feet resulted in a few happy splashes. The water lapped subtly against the shore.

Later, our friend, Nick, joined us at the lake for a brief respite from the fast-pace of life and the almost oppressive heat. As the three of us relaxed and kept cool in the lake, minnows started nibbling at us. Well, they really started swarming around me. One even went into my pocket. In fact, they kind of swarmed around some awkward areas.

We all laughed.

It is kind of amazing when you think about it. In this world filled with Facebook, Nintendo Wii, shiny vehicles, spacious houses, and the latest trends, three friends enjoyed something a bit more organic.

We enjoyed an afternoon in God's air conditioning.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Depth of Field: The Difference Between Spectators and Converts

This morning, Seth Godin wrote about Fans, Participants, and Converts. One of the differences between spectators and converts is the individual's depth of field. Spectators are just trying to take in everything that is around them. They bounce from trend to trend without any commitment. Converts are able to see the details in the landscape of life - and make a difference. The irony is that embracing this shallow depth of field ultimately leads to deep and expansive focus.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Depth of Field

As previously mentioned in this blog, I take quite a few pictures as part of my work. Pictures are an essential component of my ongoing research project into the causes of discolored copper. However, outside of work, I also experiment a bit with photography. Basically, it is fun to experiment with different camera settings. And the feedback is only a click away! Since receiving my camera as a Christmas present, I have been most interested in depth of field. Depth of field has to do with the portion of the picture that is sharp. Quite a bit more technical lingo in optics more adequately describes depth of field, but the picture above has a shallow depth of field.

Yesterday, I was thinking about depth of field while driving home. It is intriguing. Think about the world that we occupy. We continue to have exponential changes in technology, communication, and the overall pace of life. It would be overwhelming to keep track of all the latest developments. It is often overwhelming just trying to keep track of day-to-day schedules and commitments. It is difficult - perhaps exhausting - to keep everything in our view sharp and in focus. What happens, though, when we let some of the stuff on the fringes start to blur out? What happens when we can put more emphasis on what is truly important while de-emphasizing all of the superfluous background noise?

Friday, July 2, 2010


Today, I received a text from Jenn:

"Pulled out the mixer. Working on surprise #2."

Jenn has enjoyed organizing the kitchen with all of the new items that we received as gifts. Yesterday, she surprised me with Aunt Lois' strawberry lemonade - compliments of the new blender. So this text piqued my interest and the day could not get over fast enough.

I arrived home from work and walked into the kitchen singing, "It's the freakin' weekend..." Then, my gaze landed on the table and my eyes widened. The table was covered in... cookies.

"Ooh, cookies!" I exclaimed.

I heard some laughter from the backyard. Jenn was reading in the hammock.

So I scampered out to say hello and was hopeful that perhaps it would be okay to eat a cookie.

Sure enough, Jenn said to get a cookie.

So I dashed back into the kitchen and inhaled a cookie.

Then, something dawned on me. These were not just any ordinary cookies. These were old fashioned sour cream drop cookies that Grandma used to make. Only, they were different! You see, Grandma only ever made them with white frosting. My initial thought upon discovering the cookies was that they were some great 4th of July cookies. It never occurred to me that these could be the same cookies from years past. But really, they were different. They were red, white, and blue... Jenn made them in her own special way!

(Thanks to Anita for the copy of the Grace United Methodist Church cookbook!)