Lord of all power and might, the author and giver of all good things: Graft in our hearts the love of your Name; increase in us true religion; nourish us with all goodness; and bring forth in us the fruit of good works; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, August 29, 2008
Big day here in the Rings house. One in which we saw our little girl go off to school for the first time. Crazy. But I can't even begin to tell you how cool and exciting this is. I am really proud of my little girl and who she is - thoughtful, caring, nurturing, and creative. It is fun to watch her grow. These are the moments for us as parents to be excited about given all the hard work, much love, and fervent prayers we have offered to our children over the years. I'm not sure where it ranks on the surreal factor (check out my friend Ed's post on his blog about his oldest daughter getting married and it's surreal factor), but at some level it's kinda relative to our season of life.
This is a big moment for Sarah and for us. Sarah is starting the journey of thinking for herself outside the walls of our home. She begins the journey of making friends outside of the community that we have somewhat constructed for her (what's she gonna do...drive to Mickey D's to chill with her hommies on playset?). She continues on her path of discovering who she is and who Jesus is and how those two realities intersect and connect.
Kelly and I begin the process of letting go our precious and amazing little soul of fleshly responsibility to people other than us. And we also continue the process of saying ultimately she is not ours, but his. The One who loves her more than we can imagine. The One who longs for her to be "strong and courageous" because he is with her. The One who lived, died, and lives again so that she might know what life can be all about and that it's a gift to use beautifully and incredibly.
Here are few pics of my brave girl on the day she described as being a "a lot exciting and a little scary":
Thursday, August 28, 2008
The night is really just starting in Denver at Invesco Field. The video just ran about Barack life. It was a great video and simply said it is an incredible journey. Really it's a great American story of perseverance, dreams, and serving your country. I am really curious what he will say about what he will do and how he will do it. "Yes We Can" will only go so far (I think). And though I really love Barack's personal story, I think his personal politics leaves something to be desired.
But I do love to hear him speak....dude can communicate! The "eight is enough" line was lame. "Pull yourself up by your boot straps, even if you have no boots. You're on your own"...good line.
DNC is really pushing the war service of his relatives as making him viable as commander-in-chief. It's been all over the convention the last few days and again into tonight. Not sure that equates, but I get the angle.
Monday, August 25, 2008
I am officially entering into the fast lane of my time here at the University of Dayton. The first year of my Masters of Education - School Counseling program is pretty much all course work. That is pretty easy to hammer out given my/our family's season of life (two small kids, wife working full-time, me working 20-25 hrs a week, etc.).
Now, however, things are starting to crank up a notch or two in regards to speed and stress. This fall I am taking my practicum class which requires me to be in a school setting for 100 hours of work with students and counselors. That means more schedule juggling, heftier ask on time commitment from my mom for helping with the kids, deeper level of guilt for what this transition is asking of my family, all the while, knocking out the class work, maintaining good grades, learning as much as I can, and working with DECA and Far Hills.
I was reminded of the great truth, promise, and, at some level, mystery of how God wants to make his strength perfect in my weakness. How that when I am at my lowest, neediest, most broken, God shows up and does his greatest work in and through me. It's scary to acknowledge those great personal "cracks", but at the same time, there is something very freeing about living by faith knowing God is who he says he is and will do what he says he will do. By stating the obvious need for God's grace and power (to God and probably those closest to me), I jump start the process of me getting out of my own way.
For when I don't acknowledge my obvious need, I impede God's ability to make perfect his strength in my ultimate weakness. In essence what I communicate to him and those around me is that I can do this. I have it all together. I don't need your help. I am without weakness.
And so because of his love for me, my feeble attempt at loving him, and an utter desperation that I CANNOT do this on my own, I choose his way and do my best to live full of faith knowing that God will show up and do his thing/work/shaping/wrecking/and ultimately, loving.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Grant, O merciful God, that your Church, being gathered together in unity by your Holy Spirit, may show forth your power among all peoples, to the glory of your Name; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Monday, August 18, 2008
Sorry for all the video posts lately, but I couldn't resist this one.
Kelly and I were at the rehearsal dinner for some friends whose wedding I am officiating. As we were talk, laughing and sharing stories over dinner, the topic of Christian the Lion came up. When I asked about it, they were shocked that we hadn't heard of or seen the YouTube video sensation. Needless to say, I looked it up when I got home and sure enough over 11,000,000+ hits later, I am just now viewing. I am so behind the times.
So if you have seen it...sorry. If you are behind the times like me and haven't seen it, then check out this pretty cool and touching story (I just could have done without the Whitney Houston track to the video footage). I sure hope it's real.
(bu to my friend, Todd, via rehearsal dinner)
Sunday, August 17, 2008
Almighty God, you have given your only Son to be for us a sacrifice for sin, and also an example of godly life: Give us grace to receive thankfully the fruits of his redeeming work, and to follow daily in the blessed steps of his most holy life; through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Creative game website that is all about charades: youCharades. It's harder than I thought. My fastest time was 21 seconds in guessing the right answer. Got a couple of extra minutes between Olympic events, then give this little baby a try. Here is a teaser to wet your charading appetite. Just hit the next button to play the next charade.
We have the cool outdoor mall near us called The Greene. It's your typical suburban yuppie/dink mall with all the trendy stores and chain restaurants. That's not to say it's a bad thing, but I'm sure there are lots of places like there in the U.S. especially Cali.
However, they do some cool stuff for families and kids. In the middle of the mall they have a fountain which kids can play in, get wet, and have fun. That fountain is in the middle of large green/lawn which you can throw out a blanket and chairs and chill. While chillin', you can listen to live music from the acoustic to big bang to classic oldies. They also bring out kid's entertainers from stilt walkers to balloon makers to water frogs (I won't explain - you just have to see it).
On this day, my mom took the kids up there to hang and have some fun and the face painter was there. These are the results. Pretty cute I must say!
Monday, August 11, 2008
I am a drop in the bucket compared to the hits a ysmarko, Jesus Creed, or Seth Godin blog get. But never in my 2.5+ years of talking about life, faith, culture, ministry, and family did I think I would get 5,000 hits to my little blog (#5000 was someone from Indianapolis, IN). Who woulda thunk it. Pretty cool. Thanks for checking in and sharing the voyage!
Side note: Kelly and I are letting Sarah and Parker stay up just a bit later to watch some of the Olympics where they love to chant, "USA USA USA!" It's pretty sweet and fun. Tonight we were getting them off to bed when Sarah was negotiating some extra face time to watch the US women's volleyball team rock the Cubans. After putting the kabosh on the stalling to get to bed, Kelly turned to Sarah and said:
Kelly: Aren't you the #1 cutest girl I know?
Sarah: No! I'm the #1 T.V.est you know.
In honor of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, the blog of the month is all about these amazing games. It's called the Fourth-Place Medal created by Yahoo! It's actually pretty good with recaps of the games, fun/interesting articles about the games/athletes, and funny commentary about everything in between. Here are some of my favorite posts:
Team USA in the 4x100 Freestyle relay gold and more here
China's weather modification plan
and then there is this Nike masterpiece in another post:
(bu to my wife, Kelly, via the dinner table)
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Grant to us, Lord, we pray, the spirit to think and do always those things that are right, that we, who cannot exist without you, may by you be enabled to live according to your will; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, August 08, 2008
Parker, my four year old son, and I were in the back yard. I was killing weeds and he was picking sides in the battle for good guys and bad guys. He was thinking that Kelly, Sarah, and himself could be the good guys and I would be the bad guy (my normal play role). And then he and I had a mini conversation that went something like this:
Parker: Dad, I like be the good guy.
Me: Why's that, Parks?
Parker: Because people love good guys.
Me: You are right, buddy. And nobody likes me, the bad guy, cuz I'm bad (hands up with a menacing face).
Parker: Nuh-uh, Dad. God will love you. He loves even the baddest guys.
As hard as it is to imagine, that is so true. Even the most vile, evil, and horrendous people on the planet, He loves. And that includes you and me. Now that's a crazy kinda love. An amazing kinda love.
I've got to be honest: I'm a sucker for the opening ceremony of any Olympic games: summer or winter. And I have a feeling tonight that the opening ceremony of these Olympics in Beijing are going to be pretty stellar. I mean just check out the venues that the Chinese have built - amazing! That's all you and I need to know that these opening festivities are going to be over the top awesome. In fact, I think that they are so cool that the kids are staying up a little extra late to take in the sights, sounds, and action of the evening. Should be a blast!
If you are looking to know when your favorite Olympic sport is going to be on t.v., you can check out NBC's site for all the details (and then some I'm sure). Personally, I'll be checking out track and field (the U.S. has fielded some amazing runners, jumpers, and throwers), swimming (41 yr old Torres and Phelps going for 8 golds!), and The Redeem Team (men's basketball). Plus there are a couple of less popular sports that I geek out on, too, like indoor volleyball, table tennis (ping pong to us gringos), kayaking, handball, water polo, and badminton.
It is interesting to note that this Olympics has been permeated with controversy given the awful human rights history of China. But as I have been reading, this is the one time in the global calendar when we put down our political differences to unify under the banner of athletic competition (so why did the IOC ban Iraq?). So does protesting have it's place here? Will it be the unofficial Olympic spectacle of the next two weeks? I doubt it.
And so as we unify under this banner of sports, all I have is one thing to say: USA! USA! USA!
Thursday, August 07, 2008
Struggle with how to keep those goatee lines straight? Have a hard time getting your goatee to have that clean look? Well, have no fear and look no further:
As the ad says, "If you want to have the perfect goatee? See the GoateeSaver($20). You just chomp on this bit and then you can shave around it for perfect results every time. And you adjust three rollers's width, flawlessly conforming to your face, and also to your notion of what a real goatee looks like. Inventor by Scott Bonge. A Hannibal Lecter-looking device. A clever kit for men those want to have the goatee."
So to all my hip youth pastor buddies and ultra-cool boomer teaching pastors out there, look no further. Your prayers have been answered!
(but to BoingBoing)
Sunday, August 03, 2008
Let your continual mercy, O Lord, cleanse and defend your Church; and, because it cannot continue in safety without your help, protect and govern it always by your goodness; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Friday, August 01, 2008
We still have a long way to go until October, but this GINORMOUS sweep of the Milwaukee Brewers by my Chicago Cubs goes a looonnggg way in making a statement to the Brew Crew (and the rest of the league) that they are going to make a serious run at the world series this year. Cardinals take notice. Dodgers take notice. Marlins, Mets, and all of the A.L. take notice. This team is awesome!
Will they win come September? October? Well, I'm a Cubs fan, and refuse to get my hopes up. But it sure is fun, here in August, dreaming of might be, could be, and maybe even should be.