Monday, December 29, 2008

please hold in prayer

Steve's friend from high school, Officer Mason Samborski, was shot and killed in the line of duty Sunday morning. Please keep his family, his wife and girlfriend from HS(Sarah Ziemba) and one year old daughter in your prayers. Steve is pretty shaken by it; he called this morning to tell us. This was his best friend besides Benny in HS he said. Steph remembers cutting his hair at our home when we were over and I remember the outrageous backyard wrestling performances and videos. Give Steve a call if you think about it too. Tragic. Life is so precious.

here's the story

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Best of 2008

Best picture of us taken on the beach in Grand Haven.

These are a few of my favorite things in 2008...

Music: The 4 albums I bought in 2008 (because they're really good)
1. Deerhunter Microcastle/Weird Era: My favorite new band of 2008 because I like loud guitars and creative songwriting, this is my favorite album of the year. (listen)
2. Bon Iver For Emma For Ever Ago: Sarah and I wore this album out, beautiful songs written in a cabin in north Wisconsin (listen)
3. Steven Malkmus Real Emotional Trash: I listened to this over and over this past spring as the weather got warmer, Cold Son is the best song (listen)
4. Welcome to the Welcome Wagon: Welcome Wagon are a husband and wife who planted a church in Brooklyn, this album was produced by Sufjan Stevens and is a bunch of songs based on the Bible. (listen)

Movies: These movies moved and entertained:

1. Transsiberian: A mystery, thriller on a train going through Siberia. Yikes.
2. The Fall: Visually stunning, and the cutest little girl you will ever see in a movie.
3. Encounters at the End of the World: Sarah and I watched this in the theater in Fort Wayne with one other person, its a documentary about Antarctica and the people who go there, again visually stunning, and Dad yes they tour Shakleton's shelter.
4. Taxi to the Dark Side: Another documentary about our treatment of detainees in Iraq/Afhanistan, its a Debbie Downer, but somehting that can't be ignored if we are truly people called to love our enemies.

Politics: Regradless of who you voted for, it was memorable, heated, and the first president our children remember will be a black man. Bishop Desmond Tutu offered some great post election thoughts (article)

Best Blog Post: The Patrol (formerly CCM patrol) nailed it when they described the sound of today's Christian music as "utterly and completely soulless". (read full post) You know the're surfing the radio and you hear that plastic sound and within 3 seconds know you're in CCMville.

Best attempt at heisting an auto dealership when gas was $4.00/gallon: Earlier this year when gas prices were peaking at $4.00 plus per gallon, approximately 99% of the driving public were considering downgrading their cars to get a more fuel efficient car, our boy Jeff strode into Brighton Honda with the following proposition:

Jeff: Hey, uh... I'd like to make you an offer. I'll trade you this Honda Accord (which you're having trouble selling) for a Honda Fit (30+ per gallon, flying off the lot), and here's the deal, you give me the Fit, I give you the Accord, and uh we do this for no money down, and you lower my monthly lease payment....alright??

Dealer: No.

Jeff: I've made you a reasonable offer and you're turning me down??

Dealer: Let me check with my manager (leaves and returns)... No.

Jeff: I can't beleive this, let me talk to the manager.

Manager: How can I help you?

Jeff: I've been a loyal customer to this dealership, and I've made you an offer which is reasonable now why aren't you willing to deal with me.

Manager: Here's a reasonable offer, you make the down payment and start paying for that Fit like everyone else!

Jeff: Well obviously you aren't willing to help your loyal customers, I've made three reasonable offers all of which you have denied and as far as I'm concerned its three strikes and you're out!! (turns and walks out...stone cold)

I had to throw that in there Jeff, I love that story, for another good story ask Steve-o to recount his run in with a deer.

Have a Happy New Year!! I look forward to 2009 and to sharing it with all of you!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

For Unto Us a Child is Born

"The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
a light has dawned." Isaiah 9:2


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Dancing with the Scribes

Some of you may have seen 'MAD HOT BALLROOM', a documentary about a Ballroom Dance program in NYC for 5th graders in low-income neighborhoods. They've started this now in Los Angeles, and my class participated this year, teaching 5 different dances to our students over 10 weeks and then selecting 5 couples to represent our school (Culture and Language Academy of Success) in the final competition against 14 other LA schools.

The competition was held this past Sunday in a fancy ballroom on the West-side of town. I watched and cheered on my students nervously as they danced the meringue, rhumba, foxtrot, tango and swing. I have to say, I've never been more tense or nervous as I was when they were announcing the winner. My students had worked so hard, and danced so well; i wanted them to win badly - they deserved it. The M.C. announced the 3rd place winner, the first place winner, and then the first place winner: friggin' CULTURE AND LANGUAGE ACADEMY OF SUCCESS. We won it! I lost it; went crazy hugging my students and hoisting our first place trophy up high. They allowed us, the winners, one last dance if front of the whole crowd. I've never been more happy, more proud.

I gotta give MAD props to Alaysia, Damani, Tah-je, Denzel, Kennedy, Renard, Jaida, Jerimiah, Crystal and Evan for being the best little dancers in all of Los Angeles.

And if you haven't yet been out to visit my school, you need to meet these kids. They are honestly some of the brightest, best and most inspiring little Obamas out there. Come anytime.

Monday, December 15, 2008

BCC Moments To Remember

I'm not sure how God works, but I know it's mysterious. You are looking at the reason Ben and I attended Sunday School taught by Papa Lampi from 6-8th grade. Inside that wrapper was not only a delicious treat of explosive flavors, but an opportunity for God to work. I get a sucker, I go to Sunday School and hear the word of God, even though i was a pain in the rear I'm sure. this is one of my fondest memories of BCC as Ben and I reminisced on Facebook earlier tonight. these delightful suckers drew every bit of saliva your pallet could create as the sugar and flavoring seaped into taste buds to illuminate your senses while hearing Dad lampi speak of this Jesus. Thank you dad for making me be there and for always brining these suckers along.

So why am I writing this?... Well as you all know BCC is going though some rough times right now. Ben and I thought it would be cool for each of us to blog some favorite BCC moments that moved us, captured us, changed us and let's be honest, made us laugh over and over again. Blog it new if you'd like so we all can see. have a great week. Love ya'll.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Amazing Grace - He still is

Turn the sound up to this and listen to it in it's entirety.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

spare the rod...

I like this post on parenting by Michael Spencer (read full post). Here are his observations:

1. You want to produce a happy, healthy, productive, well-balanced human being. If, in your urgency to produce a religious child, you produce a distorted child, you’ve not been a good parent. The end doesn’t justify the means in Christian parenting.

2. All sorts of things in parenting have no relationship whatsoever to any book you’ll read or seminar you’ll attend. Parenting isn’t some mystery that can be taught be experts. When you hear an ad for someone telling you they can make your kid into a near perfect child if you’ll only buy/attend their thing, you’re being taken for a ride on your insecurities. Relax.

You’re going to mess up, screw up and make mistakes. Your family isn’t going to be that !$#$! picture on your church web site. Look at families in the Bible, especially the Old Testament. Read what Jesus said about families. This is where sin shows up. It’s where we fail and get forgiven. It’s where we get to be human and hurtful, but still belong.

A family can’t survive everything. There are limits, but determine that mistakes won’t be covered up and real life will be the canvas on which this picture is painted.

3. Show up, be there, be present, don’t leave, be predictable, be stable, be a presence. That’s not all of parenting, but it’s a lot. All kinds of people turned out really well, not because they were raised by little parenting geniuses, but because they were raised by people who were THERE in their lives. They came home. They made breakfast. They put them in bed. They didn’t chase their own hobbies and dreams at the expense of their kids. They were just there.

4. Turn off the damned television (and attendant electronic devices.) Yes, that’s “damned” for those of you monitoring me for the local authorities. Spell it right. Turn the thing off and read to your kids. Get some animals. Ride bikes. Go hiking. Plant a garden. Buy a telescope. Get dolls. Get action figures. Go on weekend drives. Learn history. Go to ball games. Just decrease the television time.

5. The family dinner table. At all costs. As much as possible. No matter what the resistance. No matter how much coordination it takes. It is, always was and always will be, the key to good family life. Talking around that table is very important. More important than church, I promise.

6. Consider seriously the wisdom of putting your children into a large church program that separates them from you into children’s worship. I believe this is the worst thing evangelicals have done in the last 50 years. Other than a very modest extended session for very small children, you should be fearful of making your children the passive participants in programs that set them in front of big screens, DVDs, stages, etc. The demise of evangelicalism is the result of specialized programing. It has very limited usefulness.

7. Loving your children is not the same as you being happy. Loving your children will mean getting into places where you are unhappy, and then asking what does it mean to love that child.