22 December 2004

December 22, 2004

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At the beginning of the month I played my first solo show in a while at The Mill in Lititz, PA. They have a great sounding in-tune upright piano there which I used for "The Villain" and a new song called "It's Alright" which I worked out for piano in the days prior to the gig on Luke's less than in-tune piano at the house. In the around an hour long only acoustic set I played a few other first-time songs: "You Are Bright" and "Sunday's Big Parade". Was a very nice time. Looking forward to doing more of these shows soon.

Drinking a lot of tea the past few weeks. A tea charged with scent and flavor from Bija called "cold stop" has been the favorite the last seven days since I have been less than well physically. Feeling a lot better yesterday and today though. It's nice to be able to sing along to songs in the car again and look silly to my fellow drivers.
Speaking of cars... My hood is banged up a bit and the driver's side light is out due to a traffic collision. Anyone know what happens if snow gets under the hood? Let's hope we don't find out the hard way.

24 November 2004

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"Starting It" November 24, 2004

One night at house church in Norwood, Ohio just before moving back to Pennsylvania (2003) I asked a friend and pastor there what he thought I should do about "church" when I got back. After talking about certain things working and others not for a type of church and where I was, he said that I should just start something there.

Often my work schedule kept me from being either on time or able to attend house church across the street from my apartment in the community (brown) house, but I was at least there over 50% of the time. Sometimes how I felt about my job, myself, or just my day really made me not want to go. Many people often feel this way about church in any format. If I went I would be exposed to these people. Surely the ones who knew me would see through me and I couldn't just coast through hiding in the back of the room. That's hard when people are facing every direction. It's hard when you let these people into your life in a way where there is mutual challenging, encouragment, and accountability. Hard but so rewarding and necessary. And now, "Otherwise, what's the point?" is my thinking.

A few weeks ago Nathan Horst and I spent three pre-dawn morning hours talking in his living room. We spoke of trying to hear God/know His will, concepts of worship, frustrations of percieved and acted Christianity, and how things could maybe work. All of these things usually punctuated with an uncertainty, a weariness, but in that we sat there together with ideas bouncing back and forth constantly there was a wide-eyed hope for change: a move upwards. Finally he said, "Let's do this." God's timing, despite what we may think, is a wonderful surprise worth waiting it out for.

This Sunday night a group of us are getting together to start this up and talk about ideas a bit just to stir up some thought. But as Janelle said to Nathan and I "Let's just do it." She's right. Let's figure it out as we go - walking in God's grace and His desire for an active salvation in our lives.

Thank you Kevin, Dave, and the folks at Vineyard Central for planting this seed. Here we go.

reading: THE ART OF THE COMMONPLACE: The Agrarian Essays of Wendell Berry

18 October 2004

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"My New Location" October 18, 2004

Last weekend I picked up most of my things and moved both I and them to the parsonage of Saint Mark's United Methodist Church (UMC). Built in 1928 - as was the church - with beautiful multi-toned brick, a fairy tale inspired red rounded-top door, and most recently updated with central air... you can find it just off the north side of Harrisburg's Front Street separated from the presently calm Susquehanna River only by Wendy's. Luke Foley and Brandon Sundberg share the plentiful space with me. I think them for inviting me along to seek out and inhabit it. Only a week into it we've had memorable conversations and plenty of laughs over what we have yet to buy for the place having just assumed it would be there when we reached for it. We almost have the problem remedied now.

The long four window wall of my second floor room faces over out driveway, a sort of concrete courtyard, toward the classroom and office windows of the church. it's nice to be able to enjoy viewing the same brick of our house from inside viewing the church from my desk. The window of my more narrow all frames an evergreen tree, a fern perhaps, which this winter should look particularly stunning with snow blowing about and finally settling on the branches. Shoveling the driveway will be another matter entirely though in truth I often don't mind that kind of repetitive physical labor. A good way to clear the mind and why should we be running and hiding from God's creation anyway? I will try to do less of that.

Feel free to email me for my new address and/or phone number if I failed to get it to you already.

cd player: Brad Mehldau - LIVE IN TOKYO (solo piano)

25 August 2004

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"Darfur and What Is Beneficial?" August 25, 2004

I spend a lot of time thinking while waiting for things to happen: customers to need help, multi track "final" mixes to convert to stereo, and days to turn into night. These moments, however long or short, I really do enjoy and it may be more accurate to say that as of late the stuff of things happening is what I am biding through to get to the stillness. In either case, that time spend in my mind often revolves around exploring what course of action, avenue of life, or way of life would work best for me. Put starkly, which of those choices would benefit me in my wants (sometimes my needs) the most. If we are honest about it I think most of us would concede this. And it is true that to some degree we must think of these things.

One might say having faith in God to provide all needs and the wisdom to choose, through meditation on Him, that our inner discussions would turn to things of lesser imperative to decide on our own. This is true. There should be careful consideration of many things God has ordained (and some others that man has made) for us to enjoy; this of particular importance to those committed to lead a simpler, more focused life. Saint Paul writes that many things ("all things" to some) are permissible but not all of the same are always beneficial. Now it is obvious that all of the choices aren't always beneficial to the one making them otherwise there would be no need to consider the options with such care. I could live with the attitude of "come what may"; if a door opens then I will walk through it, etc.

What would happen if we re-framed Paul's oft quoted truism with the teachings of Christ in mind being the one on whose philosophies and lifestyle Paul was building? Most theologians and average lay people would agree, as do I, that we can sum up the main thrust of true Christianity is the pursuit of loving God and one another: that being all people not just those of the stated faith. In fact, that idea goes back even to the first two of the ten commandments given to Moses. Christ's role was as the ultimate example of this in life/action and finally death/inaction. Both very powerful statements.

In the spirit of this lifestyle, might we first ask "what is beneficial for others"? This of course is not easy in today's globalized economy, mixing of nationalism and religion, and our own bare faced self interest. God, I'm so guilty of this. In this light, the issue is especially important. When the first question has been considered and answered we should move on, seeking God's will and peace through all of it, to the personal affects of the choices assuming that we even feel any of choices are any longer necessary.

All of this I consider for myself today a day of fasting and prayer for the genocide induced crisis the Darfur region of Sudan and the resulting famine for the tens of thousands driven, now homeless, into neighboring lands. I t causes me to again evaluate what is important to me and what should be. A humbling reminder of how blessed I am and still so fickle.

Consider visiting these sites to learn more about what is going on in Sudan and what you can do to help:

http://www.darfurgenocide.org
http://www.oxfam.org/eng/
Mennonite Central Committee - Sudan Appeal
http://www.faithfulamerica.org
http://www.amnesty.org

13 July 2004

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"Words I've Been Reading" July 13, 2004

This week I've been rereading parts of Thomas Merton's NEW SEEDS OF CONTEMPLATION (as well as a collection of journals 1967/68) which is proving to be just as revelatory as the first time. Often I just stop mid page to bracket or underline sections so that in the new day I can go back to them and really get them in my mind. How I ever got through it the first time I'm not sure.... There is SO much here! I thought I would share a little from Chapter 9:

"Love comes out of God and gathers us to God in order to pour itself back into God through all of us and bring us all back to Him on the tide of His own infinite mercy.

So we all become doors and windows through which God shines back into His own house.

When the Love of God is in me, God is able to love you through me and you are able to love God through me. If my soul were closed to that love, God's love for you and your love for God and God's love for Himself in you and in my, would be denied the particular expression which it finds through me and through no other.

Because God's love is in me, it can come to you from a different and special direction that would be closed if He did not live in me, and because His love is in you, it can come to me from a quarter from which it would not otherwise come. And because it is in both of us, God has greater glory. His love is expressed in two more ways in which it would not otherwise be expressed; that is, in two more joys that could not exist without Him."

Otherwise, I have cancelled NetFlix to reappropriate the funds as lately I just don't much time to watch the movies despite the great selection and price. As much as I don't want to cave to all these things that society says I need and requires me to spend money on I think it might be time to get a cell phone so that I can be more available to do musical things and hopefully for the greater good. If you do have NetFlix, check out the documentary LIFE AND DEBT which is about Jamaica and their relationship as debtor to the International Monetary Fund as well as the effect of world trade policies on their country. Really something else.

Going to see the Phillies play the Cubs next weekend in Philly with some friends. Brand new park out there should be fun.

22 May 2004

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"Air Conditioned Days and Nights" May 20, 2004

Today I am constantly thirsty though at times my busyness keeps me from realizing I it. Almost four hours were taken up this morning in the studio editing the background band sounds in between the singing from the lead vocal mic. Find the last vocal sound on each line, zoom in to hundredths of a second to find a dead silent piece of the wave form, put a break in that spot, and zoom back out to do the same to the beginning of the next phrase hoping that drum fill and cymbal crash coming up isn't actually DURING the vocal. All that and then I must test the track by itself (soloed) to make sure no syllables have been lost or that it doesn't sound edited. Finally I listen back to the section with he whole mix (band). Lots of mouse clicking and dragging, keyboard shifting, and spacing to stop/start the song.

In all that it's easy to loose track of time and reality. Slowly everything is only a click, drag, and cut away. You begin to relate double clicking with say running and dragging speedily with flying. Now all of it seems in reach. [Kind of how one feels getting older relating to buying large appliances ... but that's another rant.] This is the same as what happens when I am falling asleep. Whatever object my brain ends up focusing on suddenly morphs into another completely unrelated, except in my "in between sleep" world where shapes and colors are the same thing and often the movement of the shapes communicate some piece of information to me. Of course if I realize in the midst of the strange occurrence just how little sense it all makes, I usually wake up momentarily freaked out and then sad that this wondrous experience has disintegrated.

There are people whose every-day awake lives are filled with this kind of mixing of senses, meanings, and emotions: Synesthetes. My friend Megan bought me a book about synesthetes a few years ago for Christmas after we heard a segment on NPR concerning the author and the "condition." I thought "Wow, maybe this explains why my mind works so differently...." Apparently, as children our senses are very intermixed to the extent that a particular color has a particular smell, or a certain letter has a permanent color. As we grow up our brain's "beef-up" with a kind of fatty tissue to better conduct brain activity while the brain severs (or more exclusifies) some cell connections and others getting all new "adult" connections. This explains the maturation character and thinking skills in teenages/young adults. Many of the connections severed, it seems, are the ones the synesthetes maintain, keeping them somehow able to access the ever colorful wonderland of childhood and still be fully functional and often very creative adults.

Still, I am fairly certain I don't fall into this category as often what triggers my euphoric moments involve repetitions: a fan "whurring", the taps of computer commands, the fact that most of my day is spent in air conditioned / temperature controlled environments, or even hearing the same part of a song over and over again in my head or the studio. When I snapped out of my editting zombie state I was overcome by thirst as if I had just pushed my body to it's brink. Two-thirds of the 16oz bottled water raced down my throat in one long gulp. And it felt so good! Had all the double-clicking actually fooled my feeble mind into believing I'd actually just run a race? Who knows. Though here I've been writing all this (on paper first) with my pen clicking it all the while and again, I am parched.

Here's to the miracle of water.

info from: BLUE CATS AND CHARTREUSE KITTENS by Patricia Lynne Duffy
and
ALL THINGS CONSIDERED on National Public Radio

31 March 2004

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"Discount?" Wednesday March 31 2004

Yesterday after helping a customer find a vacuum belt and bringing him to the register he asked: " Can I get an employee discount on that?"

I replied, "Do you work here (at Sears)?"

"No but my friend does."

At this point I'm sure I made a silly expression or rolled my eyes and said "Not unless you want your friend fired." You see, the friend would have to ring up the sale to get away with it and you aren't allowed to ring up your own sale.

The costumer jokingly responded, "Well I don't care if he gets fired."

"Than I guess he's not really your friend and so, no discount."

What a satisfying exchange for what started out so annoyingly.

Today I am working open to close (9:30am - 9:30pm). I've finally put some padded inserts into my brown dress shoes to make the day a little more bearable
. Thanks Mom.

25 March 2004

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"The Wrong Hand"
Thursday March 25 2004

Earlier this week I was walking through the living room towards the kitchen with a just-put-out glass encased candle in one hand and a half full glass of water in the other when a thirst came over me and so I began to lift one hand towards my mouth... the wrong hand. Thank goodness I realized which was which before the wet wax scalded my mouth. Regularly I go into the kitchen with something to put it away and it almost ends up in the fridge when in fact it often doesn't even belong in the kitchen. Do these things happen to you? Why do you think it is? Then again, how else would I have tried orange juice or parmesan cheese in my cereal.

I went to see the new Charlie Kaufman (being john malkovich, human nature, adaptation) scripted movie ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND upon it's release on Friday. Having read the script a good six months ago there weren't many surprises plot wise but some really creative versions of scenes that I wasn't sure could exist. The movie's press says that Michel Gondry did all the effects "in camera" versus doing CGI etc. I truly find this hard to believe but then again he is a master. Regardless of the "how", Michel and crew pulled off some great stuff with my only complaint being how claustrophobic and shaky all of the camera work was throughout with the exception of some shots on the ice which were framed pretty well. Anyway, it's a fun movie with a great premise. You'll probably enjoy it.

In the latest issue of THE BELIEVER (despite the title it's not a religious magazine, it mostly concerns literature) there is an excerpt from a forthcoming biography written by Dave Eggers. It's nice to read some new writing from him and it seems to be part of a pretty compelling story that could address some important issues. Both Borders and B&N carry the magazine so check out it. Always good interviews in it too.

12 March 2004

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Friday March 12 2004

Lately I've had my days helped along by....

music: Air - TALKIE WALKIE

film: LOST IN TRANSLATION

food: Homemade smoothies from pineapple, vanilla non-fat yogurt, strawberries, banana, ice, and some protein mix. It's a hold over from my fast that if for no other reason makes me happy that I did the fast.

tv: Catching up on Gilmore Girls episodes.

time: Trying to remember when Adam and Joy get back from Singapore and which laws they broke.

reading: New York Times, Michael Chabon's children's book SUMMERLAND

brain: ... Putting to use all the things on my mind, how do i make a difference? Isn't that the way a life is truely is worth something? Not how big the difference is or how small of course but that it's the right difference for that person to make. hmmm. i'll chew on that for a while.

26 February 2004

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Thursday February 26 2004

Since I last wrote:

1. Spent one day and two night in State College with Adam & Joy along with the other fascinating Christmas party guests. Kindra Nicholaides took the train into Harrisburg from Philly and accompanied Krista Burger and I on our drive to the festivities. Janelle Monroe and Kindra stuck around the to next day at the Ryan's though a very late game of Trivial Pursuit -- Janelle was so tired that she refused to play instead making tired noises on the sofa --, wonderful waffles courtesy of the newlyweds, a bookstore visit for the girls, a SPINAL TAP viewing for Adam and I, and some lovely dinner prepared by Joy. That evening after Janelle left we played "full contact" (some swatting and pushing, but no yelling!) TABOO boys vs. girls which was fantastic. Oh and the boys won. The drive home with Kindra was full of great dialogue, fuzzy jazz radio, and thankfulness that unlike last time I drove back our conversation didn't cause me to miss exits.

2. Finally talked to my friend Megan Kaufman for the first time since she moved back to Spain last August. "Hi Megan, I'll write more to you soon."

3. a. Turned 23 and feel every bit the year older. Seriously. Old.
b. Received the Line 6 Delay pedal for my birthdayfrom my mom. Amazing she is. Also a money clip from Megan with the big cool Euro symbol, a gift certificate to Hearts and Minds Books (my favorite book store) from Tiffany, the DVD directors cut of DANCES WITH WOLVES from Adam & Joy, and tons more. I love my friends and family.

4. Started a week long fast from solid foods as part of Lent (Tuesday at sundown) and prayerfully to have more clarity in the particulars of my near future. Focus.

That pretty much brings us up to date. I'm sure I forgot things but there is plenty more room for those things later.

06 February 2004

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"Merry Christmas, it's February." Friday February 6 2004

"Oh no! Snow and rain and ice." This was my morning. All the cars on my street are parked parallel which is fine normally as this fact is likely the reason for what parking skills I have. But on a morning like this it's a disaster. I stood on the curb two feet above looking at the street below once covered in snow and now an ocean of water and ice of depth I could not determine. I had little choice but to step as far out as possible and find out the depth the hard way. Jumping would only make the mess worse with splashing but if only would have known how much of that there would be later..... So I stepped and the water covered my shoe briefly until I could get my other foot further out and then finally onto solid ice. I should mention that there is a small hole gashed into my right brown dress shoe. Not good.

Last night I heard people talking about the various thickness' of ice predicted to have covered everything this morning and then I found it trivial. Now? Horrific. I was now standing beside my car covered in at least an inch of jagged (that makes it sound scary right?) and there are cars not three feet from me whizzing passed. Of course it doesn't "hit me" until the first splash of ice cold slush water soaks my pants how the puddle was only the beginning. I'd say at least twenty cars spewed water at me as I chipped away at the ice. So, I was soaked as I finally arrived at work having much of the same repeated as I walked across the parking lot to the employee entrance. My socks are now almost dry.

On a much more pleasing note, tonight I am driving to State College for Adam and Joy Ryan's Christmas party. Adam and Joy, who were married in an amazing ceremony on Dec 27, are two of my dearest friends who really champion the idea of reasonably thinking outside the box. They were so busy with all the wedding stuff (with it originally planned for May) that they decided to celebrate Christmas later. It will be the first time I've seen them since the big day, so much to look forward to. There is nothing like a gathering of warm and intelligible people especially for a holiday celebration.

Merry Christmas... Perhaps it should be Marry Christmas. Haha. Happy February.

03 February 2004

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Tuesday February 3 2004

I finally picked up a copy of Radiohead's AMNESIAC late last week and just as with KID A and HTTT I am initially finding a few songs that amazing and easily accessible with the rest left to grow into. Sometimes the best albums are so good because parts can be very challenging. And really it is the listener who needs to grow often times to "get it" rather than how people say the song "grows on you". How did I not buy the album when it came out? No idea. I'm normally pretty rabid about getting new releases by my bands. Whatever it was, rest assured that I am cured.

The recording for Kim's record went well two Thursdays ago. Zach (producer/engineer/musician) ended up playing me three songs all of which sounded amazing. We worked on one song (currently untitled) that day on which I added stereo electric guitars, wah guitar, and some oscillating Crumar synth. My dad gave me the Crumar many years ago and I've been wanting to get it recorded for years. Turns out we spent an hour nit-picking the sound, speed, and notes for the synth part which amounted to less than 40 seconds of playing. We're such geeks! Looking forward to more.

My efforts to post pictures here have been less than fruitful. Hopefully that will be ironed out soon.

26 January 2004

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"Are We Being Fair?" Monday January 26 2004

Lately I have been thinking, reading, and praying a lot about how I spend my money. This means not only taking into account if I need or just want something but even when I need it if the money that I am trading with the store and the company it's made by are treating their employees well (at least a livable wage, available health-care, safe and humane work areas) and taking proper steps to curb their products manufacture effects on the environment (water, land, air, eco-system). One getting a great deal price wise often means that someone else is suffering greatly for my relatively small savings. When the purchaser can afford otherwise this is especially wrong. The real tragedy is that, at least in our America with huge chain stores, those workers who suffer because of this system (paid unfairly) are then forced to shop at places who also cause the same fate for others only to perpetuate the cycle.

That is a lot to think about! And it easily can take it's toll on one in two extreme opposite ways. One, you greatly cut down on what you buy - partly a good thing - because you don't have/make the time to search out responsible companies to buy from. Or, two, one adopts the position that the relatively small purchases made wouldn't make much of a dent in the crisis anyway and that those workers in sweat-shop factories do need a job so we are actually helping them. That last one sounds pretty ridiculous right? I heard a minister around Christmas time somewhat justify the consumerism of that season by reasoning that low wage earners needed the work and that we were giving them some kind of gift in our shopping. He likely didn't mean that we should encourage sweat-shop labor but most people don't even think that deep and so the statement made would, to them, apply to all Christmas spending of products from all places. Instead he could have taken the opportunity to really honor Christ (whose birthday it is about) in holiday shopping by supporting organizations/companies operating fairly for all employees along with their surrounding communities and in supporting government policies and officials advocating these practices.

Right. So where am I going with this? I have a hard time often finding products that meet the above mentioned criteria which is why most people just give up on the idea. That is something I understand and sympathize with. But when we do have the products made available to us then I think we have a responsibility to support those and advocate them to others as responsible citizens of the world.

It seems to me that those of us who follow the teachings of the Bible (Christian, Catholic, Jew etc) have an even greater degree of responsibility in these matters. Bringing "The Kingdom of God" to earth hinges greatly on people experiencing freedom both physically, economically and spiritually. How can we want people to have that and still oppress them with our spending habits and our support of unjust trade policies? It's hypocritical.

Coldplay's Chris Martin made a big deal during TV and live performances, magazine articles, and by attending the World Trade Organization (WTO) summit in 2003 about making trade fair (maketradefair.com). Visit their site and give what they have to say a chance. While you are at it, start making a difference by supporting organizations like two I've listed below and talk to others about it. At this point one is hard pressed to send some of their money in the direction of questionable companies (I find it personally unavoidable) and so we should not agonize over that when we do our best but that does mean we need to change. This is not about guilt. It's about knowledge and responsibility that comes with it for what is right, just, and fair whether you back it up ethically or biblically.

American Apparel
http://www.americanapparel.net
- sweatshop Free Clothing Made in Downtown LA

Pura Vida Coffee
http://puravidacoffee.com/index.asp
Fair Trade Coffee guarantees that coffee farmers/workers get paid at least a livable wage and this organization also supports charity work with Children in Costa Rica. There are also partners with this company who you can find on the site to support by purchasing through their "storefront" [I go through Sojourners].

If you find more organizations that you think are fair please send them my way, shortly I hope to make an accessible list on this site. There are plenty of books from many perspectives on this topic. From the Christian perspective I personally recommend two: HOW MUCH IS ENOUGH? by Arthur Simon and RICH CHRISTIAN IN AN AGE OF HUNGER by Ronald Sider. Any debate, comments, and questions are also welcome. Peace.

email: info@chrisflinchbaugh.com

22 January 2004

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"Back" Thursday January 22 2004

Shortly there will be lovely pictures here from my trip to Cincinnati. There will be pictures of Amy & Daniel, new friends Cat & Ryan, the St. Elizabeth's with conference goers, and the warmth of friends at Sunday Night Tea. You'll have to excuse the awful printed-on dates, which are wrong, that ended up scaring my photos because I am apparently technologically inept.

Today I'll be spending much of my day off working with Zach Bailey and Kim Nixon on some recordings for her album which is wrapping up here soon. She writes such good songs and does so very fast.

A verse, a prayer to lift up:
"Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an everflowing stream." (Amos 5:24)

13 January 2004

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"Not-Alone Event in Cincy" Tuesday January 13 2004

The Not-Alone: Mayhem event in Cincinnati was amazing. The whole thing was covered in a sense community, one-sightedness towards the Kingdom of God, and a righteous questioning of all coming before. Highlights and pictures soon.

Sarah Munroe goes back to Philly for school this week so last night we did dinner and a movie. The other option was to go bowling but there was some of that in the film as well so we got two for one. We saw 21 GRAMS at the Midtown Cinema after enjoying some Mexican food, which Sarah de-greased with a napkin, at El Rodeo. The film was at least as good as it's hype though to some a scene of nudity/sex contained therein might be a put off. I do buy into the idea that vulnerability can be added to characters when together in that kind of situation and in this case it was shot achingly beautifully with great meaning. Does this mean that the plot benefits out-weigh the stored mental images? As a guy, I'm not sure. Feel free to challenge me on any of this if you like. Regardless, the performances from Naomi Watts (in particular and it's not because I think she's gorgeous, Sarah said so too), Sean Penn, and Benicio Del Toro really made this movie happen in a brutal, completely human way.

I had almost forgot to lend Sarah the paperback of YOU SHALL KNOW OUR VELOCITY! when she threw a pinecone(?) at my bedroom window to get me to come back out to make sure she had the right directions to get back to Lititz. Anyway, we had a great time.

Today after working from 9:30am until 11am, I have the day off. Weeeee!

"To be simple is to fix one's eye solely on the simple truth of God at a time when all concepts are being confused, distorted, and turned upside down."
- Dietrich Bonhoeffer

07 January 2004

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"Failing Simply" Wednesday January 7 2004

One of the things I've resolved to do this year -- as part of living a simpler more rhythmic life -- is to wake up no later than 8 am on work days giving me ample time for morning prayers and the Bible. So far I've made it only once. Going to bed earlier would seem to play a part in this but I have succeeded in that at least half of the days. That's a start I suppose. I do find that when I spend the night before not watching much TV or wasting time various other ways I am much more focused on my morning goals and certainly at greater peace. I know this makes a difference. If nothing else, over the past few months of reading I've learned that each of things I do today affects the next thing I do and the next day I live. To know that and live it with total reliance on God is amazing.

I want to live in the contentment and joy of Christ. Giving up things that steal my time, attention, and money from Him will only take me part of the way but it's a step that at this point I have much to be excited about and thankful for.

This weekend I'm off to Cincinnati for a conference and time with my friends at Vineyard Central. Words and pictures when I return.

reading: Richard J. Foster - FREEDOM OF SIMPLICITY

01 January 2004

New Year's Day

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I spent New Year's Eve/New Years with some lovely folks this year first in downtown Harrisburg eating some tasty food with unfortunately loud and busy surroundings. We had planned on staying there in the center of it all to see a cow painted like a strawberry drop at midnight but noone was really excited about it -- even less than we were initially when it we thought it would be the normal strawberry -- so we ventured back to Joel Semke's apartment. There we of course watched the ball drop in New York (less interesting every year) but not before catching some 50's era Nat King Cole songs on PBS including some great back and forth with Sammy Davis Jr doing imitations one of the other. Really nice warm stuff there.

The Coldplay Live 2003 DVD was thrown in after that. These guys really do a number on me. I few days ago I attempted to do some cleaning/arranging in my room while I had it on in the "background." Ha! I'd always end up glancing over... a glance that would last 3 songs likely with my jaw hanging slack. Last night while 1/3 playing a game and 2/3 watching the DVD I remarked that if I can find a girl who can do for me what Coldplay does in the perfect moments they throw in their songs then I will be set. What a silly comparison. I retired before most others to do prayers and read a bit of Acts. This year I am truly excited to have set aside more time for those things. More on that soon....

And morning came. The last one up was I but at 9:30! That's pretty early for New Years isn't it? Leanna made omelets letting each person choose exactly what they wanted in it and selflessly ate last. Even in 2004 I am still a "vanilla" kind of guy I guess, still I had some goat cheese (is that exotic?) in mine along with mozzarella, cheddar, and some ham. A morning like this reminds me some of how community can be. I guess ideally we wouldn't be gathered around a t.v. though as long as it doesn't replace interaction -- which there was plenty of critiquing the redecorating/colors -- then it's fine.

Thank you Joel for letting us hang with you at your place. Thank you Janelle for being the sub-host when Joel had to go, superb! Thank you Lena for your kind heart. Thank you Tiffany for not ever pouncing on me again to wake me up like you did today :). Thank you friends for being there.

Joel has great books in his room.
Note-to-self: borrow some world event books from Joel.

A New Year of wellness to you all.
 
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