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Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Art Of The All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet

So my buddy, Tim, loves buffets. MCL. Old Country. Golden Corral. China Buffet. And the list could go on and on and on. He'll do all-nighters with Jr. High guys where they start off the night with a classic all-you-can-eat buffet. I wish he's post about which he restaurant is the best, but that's another story.

Anywho...I found this article: Mastering the Art of the All-You-Can-Eat-Buffet. It's outstanding! I thought of all the people out there that are wanting to NOT cook after a season of cooking/making turkeys, hams, stuffing, casseroles, cranberries, etc, but still want to eat and eat and eat...this is the article for you.

Here is a teaser. Funny stuff and Happy eating!

The Fourth Plate is almost always a good idea before you do it and a bad idea afterwards. It’s the helping after the helping after. It’s the Greatest Hits Plate, a star-studded collection featuring the most popular items from Plate 1, 2, and 3, coming together for the reunion tour, the last hurrah, the final dance at the dinner table.

The Fourth Plate is also a famous mark of a Buffet Amateur, because it can be the sign of someone who realizes that Plate 2 was the best plate and they really just want more of Plate 2. For years, I scarfed down The Fourth Plate at the Indian buffet near my college. Buttery, pillowy-soft naans piled high, thick and creamy Butter Chicken, and spicy, simmering lamb in a hearty broth. It was just too much. I caved in every time and walked away with a curry-busting gut and a samosa hangover.

(bu to my bro, Matt, here at the dinner table)

Monday, December 29, 2008

Music Education - Viva La Vida Style

This is what music education should look and feel like. Look at the faces of the kids who sing. Watch their physical expression. They feel the music. They get the music. And bet is big and small ways it moves them at a heart level and motivates them in their core academic subjects. This is why keeping the arts in school - private or public - is so vital.

The song is "Viva La Vida" by Coldplay. The Coldplay video can be watched here. But this is way better. Sweet and awesome all at the same time!

(bu to BRaves via email)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Prayer Of The Weak

Almighty God, you have poured upon us the new light of your incarnate Word: Grant that this light, enkindled in our hearts, may shine forth in our lives; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

7 Days Of Christmas Images-The Meaning of Christmas

A little reminder in case you've lost sight of the meaning, here is a tender reminder of what this Day is all about.

Merry Christmas and Peace on Earth and on whom His favor rests!

Rings Family Christmas Letter 2008

I love this time of year. The smell of the Frazier fir. The sound of Christmas carols. The taste of fruit cake. The sight of Christmas lights. And the feel of another letter filled with the blah, blah, blah of our lives. Are you ready? Here we go! Parker (4) is our showoff in a Spidey costume. He loves to shake what his momma gave him during snack time at preschool, jump his two-wheel BMX bike off curbs, cut stuff, and run around the house randomly dive-bombing anyone sitting on the couch. Sarah (6) is our artist-in-residence. She loves to dance, write books, make crafts, and work it out like Sasha Fierce. Kindergarten has been great except for the horrendous teacher report that she likes boys! We are now homeschooling. Kelly (36) is woman hear her roar. She never ceases to amaze us with her abilities as chief tickler, master gardener, gourmet chef, and interior painter. She is hoping to land a permanent job at DP&L in the next couple of weeks. Her only real weakness is her addiction to Facebook. The kids and Daddy want Mommy back. Seth (wondering where his last 29 yrs have gone) can see the light at the end of the graduate school tunnel: one more semester, baby! He’s a grad asst. at UD helping urban kids pursue their dreams. He’s back in youth ministry at their church serving in the crazy world of jr. highers as their primary weekend teacher. He also loves playing the part of the Green Goblin, fantasy football stud (finals in 3 out of 4 leagues!), and king napper. Check us out at So from our family to yours, we pray that, like the young virgin, Mary, you would treasure this season, this gospel and this Jesus in your hearts. Treasure the truth that he loved us so much that he gave up heaven for a manger. He gave up the company of angels for the company of shepherds. He gave it up because we matter to him. He loves us that much. May you know, experience and celebrate that love this year.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

7 Days Of Christmas Images-Little Drummer Boy

My favorite Christmas song - Little Drummer Boy. My favorite rendition of my Christmas song - Bing Crosby and David Bowe.

On this Christmas Eve, our finest gifts we bring not just to one another, but most significantly to Him. The Christ Child. The Savior of the world. The might king. The prince of peace. Our finest gifts could be gifts. Money. Time. Talents. Resources. But most importantly He desires of us our pursuit of justice. Our love of mercy. Our humble, simple, and meaningful communion, relationship with Him.

Peace on Earth. Can it be? Hallelujah, yes! Because of God's finest gift...Jesus. May He bless you and keep you and make His face shine upon you this Christmas season.

Come they told me
A new born king to see
Our finest gifts we bring

Peace on earth, can it be
Years from now, perhaps we'll see
See the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on earth, can it be

Every child must be made aware
Every child must be made to care
Care enough for his fellow man
To give all the love that he can

I pray my wish will come true
For my child and your child too
He'll see the day of glory
See the day when men of good will
Live in peace, live in peace again

Peace on earth, can it be
Can it be

Pretty thing isn't it

Track Santa With Google & NORAD

The kids are bouncing off the walls with expectation here on Christmas Eve. One of the fun things I love to do is track Santa with Google and NORAD Santa Tracker. If you have small kids and do the Santa thing, then this is pretty cool. Even gives you video postings of interesting places Santa has been on his voyage of gift giving. And you can see how close he is to your house!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

7 Days Of Christmas Images-Resting On The Flight Into Egypt

Found this cool image of a painting over on a great blog, nakedpastor. It's hard to find thoughtful, honest, and beautiful artwork of Christmas (maybe I'm not looking in the right places), but when I saw this, I, like the blogger, was struck by its poignancy. It's not your classic Christmas story of the virgin Mary, stable, shepherds, angels, Magi, and the like. However, it is very significant and profound in the narrative of the life of Christ and his family. And so I share with you, Resting on the Flight Into Egypt, by Luc-Olivier Merson.

Click on image for larger view.

Monday, December 22, 2008

7 Days Of Christmas Images- Christmas in Hollis

As part of my little series on the sights and sounds of Christmas, I am going to marry two of my favorite things: Christmas lights and Run D.M.C. This video simply is classic!

(bu to Neatorama)

Sunday, December 21, 2008

7 Days Of Christmas Images-What if...?

The artist of this picture wrote this:

"...sometimes i do wonder ‘why a man‘? i do sometimes wonder ‘why not a woman?’ i know that jewish tradition was patriarchal, still is at heart i guess and also jesus’ lineage was important culturally. so then, why this point in history? why not wait for a time when women might get a hearing and come as a lady?"

A bit of a mute point, but still an interesting question. One that may give us of some insight into the mind and heart of God. Just something to think about. Nothing more. Nothing less.

(bu to ASBO Jesus)

Prayer Of The Weak

Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

7 Days Of Christmas Images-Santa Balls 2

This has been a fun day at the Rings house filled with sleeping in, cartoons, the ballet (The Nutcracker), and a movie (The Tale of Despereaux). So for day 5 of the 7 Days of Christmas Image series, I give you a fun game to relax with on this December evening: Santa Balls 2. How could you pass a game up with a title like that!

Games at - Santa Balls 2
Santa Balls 2

Have festive fun by matching 3 or more matching balls.

Play this free game now!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

7 Days Of Christmas Images-Advent Conspiracy

7 Christmas images - pictures, videos, art, etc - in the next seven days. Some funny. Some serious. Some just because. Just a little something to get us thinking, feeling, and seeing this Christmas season through different lenses and then experiencing it in fresh ways.

So next in line is a video from Advent Conspiracy. This organization is challenging people, families and churches to think, act, and give differently this holiday season. The video is well done, but gets some mixed reviews (along with some thoughtful dialog) on its message here at the Out of Ur blog.

We as a family have tried to stepped up to the plate recently to expand our giving to the poor and orphaned of the world by giving to and through World Vision and Asia's Hope. It's been a really cool thing as we give and pray for Jamilia and Onel at dinner and at bedtimes. This organization takes the issue of poverty and challenges us to not only view our money differently and specifically view our Christmas giving differently. Check out the video and tell us what you think about it.

What are you, your family, or your church doing differently/uniquely during this advent season to share your lives and resources with those less fortunate in your communities and in our world? Are your patterns of spending, giving, and getting changing as you respond to the poor of the world? Be sure to check out the Out of Ur discussion, too.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

7 Days Of Christmas Images-A Baby Changes Everything

If you visit my blog with any frequency, you know I love visual images: pictures, art, photographs and, in particular, videos. So in light of that, I am going to bring you 7 days of Christmas images that I've come across that speak to the majesty, madness, and/or mystery of this sacred season.

First off is an amazing song performed by Faith Hill. Although I am not a huge country fan there is no doubting that Faith has a great voice and that this is a great song. I'm sorry to say that the video she put out is a bit lame and, as my wife pointed out, distracts from the great lyrics of the song. So if you need to, close your eyes and allow the words to create your own image to what this awesome song communicates.

On a personal note, I couldn't agree more that this baby has changed everything. The rules we live by. The systems we live in. The relationship we form. The life we lead. It has for me, at least. Not to the width or depth I desire, but we are getting there: slowly and surely. Some people have called this change being saved. Being transformed. Being made new. Being made whole. Others have called it being wrecked. Finding peace. Experiencing grace. Starting over. Getting a second chance.

I don't know about you and what you would call it. But for me, I'd have to say yes to all of the above. He's changed everything. He's changing me everyday...sometimes in big ways - ah ha moments that are significant and wow. These are can't miss. Sometimes the changes are in little ways - subtle and subversive. These changes are easy to miss and may only be recognized years down the road or by the insight of a friend.

Thanks, God, for changing everything. Lost now Found. Old made New. Stranger called Friend. That Baby surely did change everything. Amen

40 Inspirational Speeches In 2 Minutes

This is awesome. I'm glad someone either a.) has too much time on their hands or b.) gets paid/credits to do this creative stuff. Anyway you cut, it's pretty cool.

(bu to Marko)

Monday, December 15, 2008

Three Semesters Down One To Go

Just a little update on where I'm at in the school time line here. As of the end of this Fall '08 semester, I have completed 38 of 48 credit hours of my master in education program. And let me say this, it is good to have this semester done.

I've been reading, studying, counseling, sharing, etc. for over 16 straight months. My brain is tired. But it's good to be learning, growing, and expanding my understanding of how to help kids. I get to learn ideas, praxis, philosophy, and theory that not only helps children, teenagers, and adults, but as internalize it, it helps me, too. God is giving me more and more insight into who I am: my strengths/weaknesses, my being, my issues, etc. It's been good. Not easy, but good because I'm growing and not settling for the status quo.

Along the way, I have met and become friends with some great people. I have sat in the class of professors who have forgotten more counseling stuff than I'll ever know. I've networked with some quality professionals whom I respect and have learned a great deal from. It's always more about the people I come into contact with in each setting where I've studied, worked, worshipped or lived. That is no different here in this this season, at this place.

But this break will be good, sweet, and needed. I'm looking forward to extra time with the kids and my family. I'm looking for a little brain shut down. I'm looking forward to getting my Wii on. I'm going to be doing some reading, but nothing that relates to education or counseling. I'm going to re-read The Shack. I'm really looking forward to it. I'm really excited about Christmas this year...the kids really are at a great age for the awe and wonder that fills this divinely mysterious season.

I've rambled enough. There is light at the end of this tunnel. Finish strong. Finish strong!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Prayer Of The Weak

Stir up your power, O Lord, and with great might come among us; and, because we are sorely hindered by our sins, let your bountiful grace and mercy speedily help and deliver us; through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with you and the Holy Spirit, be honor and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

High Praise For DECA

I worked at a pretty special place. The Dayton Early College Academy (DECA) is a charter high school (with 7th grade this year) that has a vision to give urban students an opportunity to go to college through personalized learning programs, rigorous study, and a small educational environment. It has a been a joy to be a very small part of the team that helps students and families achieve their dream of going to college (most likely the first in their family to do so).

Recently, U.S. News & World Report ranked the top high schools in America. DECA was recognized with a Bronze medal which is awesome. Dedicated leadership and committed, creative teachers are a huge reason why DECA was recognized with this honor. The other reason is the awesome students and families that push through tons of obstacles to graduate and grow into bigger and better opportunities.

Here is a link to the DECA stats on U.S. News. Read more here at link to an article written by the University of Dayton who sponsors DECA. Here is a teaser from the UD link:

DECA is no stranger to national attention. Places such as Harvard University Graduate School of Education, Jobs for the Future and The Chronicle of Higher Education have studied the school's innovative approach to education.

The Center for Secondary School Redesign has called DECA "a concrete response to convince and prepare urban learners to go to college," and invited the school to participate in the 2007 and 2008 Breaking Ranks Secondary School Showcases. Schools are chosen based on their outstanding reputations for quality and innovative approaches with challenging populations.

U.S. News ranking comes just six weeks after UD and DECA received the national Urban Impact Award from the Council of the Great City Colleges of Education. The award recognized the schools as an exemplary partnership between an urban school district and a university that has had a significant impact on teaching and learning. It was the first time an early college high school had received the award.

Big Ups to all those that make DECA such and amazing place. Thanks for all you do for to make this world a better place for kids. It is my priviledge to be apart of the ride!

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Prayer Of The Weak

Merciful God, who sent your messengers the prophets to preach repentance and prepare the way for our salvation: Give us grace to heed their warnings and forsake our sins, that we may greet with joy the coming of Jesus Christ our Redeemer; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Catchup Part 3 - Thanksgiving

We had a great time with Kelly's side of the fam for Turkey Day. Kelly's mom and dad do a great job of hosting. Super kid friendly. Lots of family: brothers, sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, in-laws, grandmas and grandpas. Too much great food. I spent the morning working on a paper and then went down later. It was a fantastic time and a reminder that I have much to be thankful for.

Catchup Part 2 - Small Group

One of the things that is so essential for people is to find some form of community in life. Whether that community is found at work, school, neighborhood, gym, book club, or church, we all need it and pursue it whether we know it or not.

We have found and pursue these kind of relationships with friends via a small group that is a big part of our personal community that we are able to serve and be served, love and be loved, know and be know, and celebrate and mourn with in all sorts of circumstances. It has been a joy to grow with these people as friends, people who follow Jesus, and those that are looking to make a difference in their world.

Here's a few pics of these fun, funky, and funtastic peeps (minus the McCrays and Bakers)!

Catchup Part 1 - Halloween

So we were at Kelly's mom and dad's house this year for Thanksgiving along with the rest of her side of the family. My sis-in-law, Jackie, told me that I had forgotten to update my blog with some family photos lately (she uses them for a family calendar she puts together for my in-laws. It's really fun!).

I was like, "No way. I update that stuff with pic all the time." So I went to check it out and was, " Whoa! I haven't updated in a while."

So here I go: updating you the few the proud HeldUpHighers that visit my blog and those lucky enough to stumble across it with some family photographs.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Not Your Grandparent's Choir

I'm both horrified and mesmerized by this. I bet First Baptist down the street doesn't roll like this. Represent!

The Hunger Site

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