Thursday, August 31, 2006

Balance, Travel, and Blogging

I don't know if "balance" is actually the right word there, but it's the one I like to use for the concept. I tend to develop certain routines like everybody else, I suppose. When I can follow my routines, when I can get in the groove, I like how I function. When something happens that messes up the routine it tends to mess up my functioning in all kinds of areas. Sometimes this is not true and I'm able to take a minor disruption in stride. More often it is true. It's very often true if travel is involved. When I go somewhere else it messes me up in some ways. I get away from what I'm used to doing. I usually see this in the areas that are most dependent on habit formation. Most of my good habits seem to be pretty fragile. The bad ones don't seem to require the same amount of care. When I'm not in the office regularly because of travel or meetings it really kills my productivity. This is also true of breaks as my Florida teammates can attest. I want to work uninteruptedly. Lunch is okay but more than that breaks the rhythm I don't get as much done. Breaks are also very annoying in classes as they feel like wasted time to me. Anyway, I've been moving around a little more than usual this summer and it's taking a toll. I'll be gone again this weekend. Tomorrow I go down to Nashville to visit Ann and Daniel for a night. Saturday it's on to Chattanooga to see Lydia and Geron and meet Cora. Monday it's up to Georgetown for mom and dad, and Tuesday's back here. Then I'll have most of a month to get settled and reestablish some routines, including blogging, before I head up to Minnesota for a conference and then welcome a friend from out of town for a weekend. Anyway I hope all readers have a fun Labor Day weekend. God bless y'all

Friday, August 25, 2006

It's About Time

that I blogged again. For the most part we had a good time in Florida. We worked hard starting Monday morning and put in an eleven hour Friday. Over the summer we cataloged over 4000 books for the Florida campus and almost 2000 of them were last week. We ate well for supper all week, taking in Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, On the Border, Angelo's Pizza (New York style on the beach in Hollywood), Chili's, Longhorn Steakhouse, and The Mutineer Seafood Restaurant. The last was a bit of a disappointment. We stopped there for supper in Homestead on Saturday night. The food was good enough and our water was a cute old Italian guy but the prices were too high and the decor was alright if you didn't look close enough to notice the chipped table, the thumb tacked wallpaper, or the rainwater dripping through the ceiling and running down the wall. The lighting was pretty dim so those things might have been easy to miss. We had a good time working and living together for the week. Saturday we headed south to the Everglades. We went to the visitor's center at the eastern entrance of Everglades National Park. We didn't really want to the pay the admission to the rest of the park and it looked like a big thunderstorm was coming so we turned back and had lunch at Wendy's in Homestead. After lunch we decided to head south into the keys. We visited the John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park on Key Largo, where we walked through a mangrove swamp. From there we continued south until we reached Layton, about 70 miles from Key West. We turned back there and visited Anne's Beach on Lower Metacumbe Key. A couple of us waded in the ocean while the others looked for shells or hung out on the boardwalk. The water was very clear. Aside from all the work the main drawback to our trip was the burglary on Friday night. While we were having steak celebrating our accomplishment and a birthday somebody got into our locked mini-van through the loose back window and stole a laptop and my backpack. There wasn't much in the backpack but cough medicine, apartment and car keys, a couple of notebooks, a Bible, a Trinity library book, and my checkbook, so I didn't lose much monetarily but the notebooks and Bible had a lot of personal value. Trinity has offered to replace both the laptop and the backpack, so that's cool, but it was a bad night and a tough loss.

Quote of the week:
"Flush it like you mean it!" MH to CP re: the lever needing to be held down for a full flush and just before the flush lever came off in C's hand.

Honorable mention:
"Well it would be a different variation on the theme of ugly." RH re: a suggested change to the decor at The Mutineer

"Well, he's a reference librarian, and that's a lot to overcome." An anonymous cataloger regarding an equally anonymous colleague re: the colleague's willingness to help catalog things.

In other news, I have a beautiful niece. See here for yourself:

Sorry it's took so long to get an update on here. Maybe they'll come faster in the future even as they once did in the past.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Veni, Vidi, Catalogi

5 days, 5 catalogers (library staff anyway, close enough), 2000 books. We win. Today the library, tomorrow the beach. Much celebrating tonight. Literacy returning soon.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Telegram for blog readers

In Florida. Working. Lots of books. Having fun. Blog when return. Love you all. Everett

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Pretty Much Back

Well I'm pretty much back from last weekend. We had a great time on our retreat. We left Friday morning with 4 boys, 7 girls, Nathan, Eric M., Dianne, and myself. We drove up to Baraboo, Wisconsin on Friday and had lunch at Culver's before connecting with our guides from Expeditions Unlimited ( With them we drove over to Devil's Lake State Park and hiked up into the hills for our rock climbing. Devil's Lake is a really pretty area and a great place to climb. The EU staff had set up four climbs for us. I tried the easiest and gave up about half way. Mostly I spent my time encouraging the kids while they climbed. They seemed to really enjoy it. It turned out that David and Matt were real rock monkeys who could fly up some of the climbs. From there we went back to the EU campground for supper and worship. Eric was our special guest speaker for the weekend focusing on Colossians 1:15-22 and Nathan led worship. After our worship time we played a fun game of Ghosts-in-the-graveyard out in the field before going to sleep in our tents.

Saturday morning after breakfast and more worship we did a low ropes challenge course with the kids. They did a good job of working together and cooperating while trying to balance all 11 on a big teeter-totter, swing across a pit, and climb a wall. It was too bad we didn't have more time for that but we had to get on the river. We got on the Wisconsin River around 2:30 just outside Arena, Wisconsin, and paddled downstream for about 6-7 miles before coming to rest on a sandbar. The EU staff set up the camp, including our "pooper," a milk crate with a hole cut on the top with a toilet seat set on it over a hole in the sand and surrounded by tarps. While they worked we played in the river and threw the frisbee around. After supper we played a fun game of ultimate frisbee in the sand and then had a fantastic worship time and made smores around the campfire. It was neat watching the kids worship and press Nathan for more after the first few songs he'd planned were done, especially when they requested "In Christ Alone" which is a long song with a lot of words. They were really into it. The weather that night was partly cloudy with a bright moon so most of the kids elected to sleep on tarps outside instead of in the tents. At about 4:30 a.m. Nathan woke me up in the tent and asked me to move over so kids could come in since it had started raining. We had a thunderstorm for a few hours then.

Sunday morning we got up and huddled under the EZ-Up for breakfast while the rain continued to pour around us. We struck camp and got back on the river around 9:30. We paddled downstream in the rain for about an hour. Just before we reached our destination it stopped raining, naturally. We eventually got back on the road and headed home around 1:00. Dianne and I road together in the car on the way back while everybody else was in the van. We took a wrong turn near Madison and got to take a more scenic route home through Lake Geneva and Antioch than the van crowd who were stuck on the Interstate. It was a good time.

Sunday night I joined a big group of friends at Ravinia for a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Yo Yo Ma. It was a beautiful night back in Chicago-land and there was some good music. The concert consisted of two movements from The Three-Cornered Hat, Azul by Osvaldo Golijov, and Ravel's Bolero. I walked up to the pavillion and watched the last few minutes of Azul. It was a very interesting modern piece especially as it has a very gradual and quiet denoument and many people on the lawn kept trying to applaud when the piece wasn't quite over yet. Anyway, good music and a good time hanging out with friends while we waited for the crowd to disperse after the concert.

The rest of the week has been an effort to get some rest before our Youth Ministry Leaders Retreat this weekend and my trip to Miami next week. I've had a cough for a couple of weeks now that I'm trying to buck. It wasn't helped by a weekend with no cough medicine and canoing in the rain. At work we're pushing to get done with the books that were sent up here from the Florida campus for cataloging. We really want to be done with that project when we leave there next week. LifeGroup was good as Aaron led us in a study of Jonah and 3-D parents' night was a lot of fun on Tuesday, especially the reenactment of the story of Ehud from Judges 3. Last night was a fun and overfilling time at B.D.'s Mongolian Barbeque with Cindee followed a by waste of time watching America's Got Talent and a pleasant phone conversation. Tonight we'll have a pizza and hangout time with our college group to celebrate the end of the summer as they prepare to head back to school for the fall and we start to gear up for the students coming back to Trinity and Lake Forest.

So that's been my week.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Verse of the Day and Gone for the Weekend

"When the LORD restored the fortunes of Zion,
we were like those who dream.
Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then they said among the nations,
"The LORD has done great things for them."
The LORD has done great things for us;
we are glad." Psalm 126:1-3

I remember sitting on the floor of a rented building in Toronto the weekend before Thanksgiving, 1994 and reading this passage while all around me people laughed in Spirit. Some friends and I had come to Toronto to see the revival that was going on, called the Toronto Blessing, at the Airport Vineyard. It was my first experience with the Vineyard and it remains one of only three Vineyards I've visited besides my church in Libertyville. It was an amazing thing to hear the testimonies of how God had touched people there in Toronto and be a part of it for a little while. At the time I focused on verse 2 and the laughter and shouts of joy. Now I think a little more about verse three. God has done great things for me and I am glad.

I'll be leaving Friday morning to go with the Jr. High kids up to central Wisconsin where we'll be canoing, camping and rock climbing for the weekend. Please pray that we have a fun and safe time and that we leaders can minister to the kids. We'll get back Sunday afternoon and I should have just enough time to get cleaned and head down to Highland Park to hear Yo Yo Ma at Ravinia. I hope you all have a good time this weekend.

Mormons and Two Quotes I like

The Mormons came back last night. We talked for about an hour and a half about the Book of Mormon and truth and how the Holy Spirit reveals truth. They're coming back in three weeks. Actually one isn't as he's finished his mission and is heading home to Utah. It was an interesting conversation that bears some real thinking about.

Bearing no relation to that whatsoever are two movie quotes. I was thinking about this a little last Saturday after Steve and I watched Dune. What are my favorite quotes or scenes from each of the movies I own? So I might start posting random quotes and observations from movies.

From David Lynch's Dune:
As the Fremen are about to launch an assault on the combined Imperial and Harkonnen forces.
"Stilgar, do we have worm sign?" Paul "Usul" Atreides
"Usul, we have worm sign the likes of which God himself has never seen!" Stilgar

From Miller's Crossing:
"Tommy, wake up." bartender
"I am awake." Tom Regan
"Your eyes are shut." bartender
"Who you gonna' believe." Tom

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Verse of the day

"Those who trust in the LORD are like Mount Zion,
which cannot be moved, but abides forever." Psalm 125:1 (ESV)

I have a friend who received this verse at his baptism. While he was in seminary he had the phrase "KI-HAR ZION" in Hebrew tattooed on his back (means "like Mount Zion"). One day while he was working out at a nearby health club somebody saw him and the strange writing on his back and decided he looked suspicious. My friend is partly of Lebanese descent and could possibly be mistaken for an Arab if you didn't look too closely. The suspicious person reported him to the F.B.I. as a possible terrorist threat. They came to investigate one day while he wasn't at the club. Fortunately the person at the desk knew who they were looking for and she set the F.B.I. straight. Not a terrorist, just a friendly seminary student with Hebrew on his back.
I think it's a good aspiration to so trust in the Lord as to never be moved.

Bye Bye Greg, 23 Jet Ski Do and Didjeridude

Herewith is the promised post about the weekend.

Friday night we said goodbye to our friend Greg. Greg was an Illinois State student who started coming to the Vineyard last summer. He started out with the college group but quickly migrated to our 20something group. Greg is an outgoing and friendly guy who was doing a medical technician internship at a nearby hospital and finishing his degree. He pushed us to plan events in advance and often had us over at his parents' house for fun activities. It was Greg's family that introduced us to the brilliant idea of watching a fireworks show with 3-D glasses. Greg's a good guy with a gift for hospitality and empathy who has now moved to Maryland to work in the blood lab at the Johns Hopkins University Medical Center. We'll really miss him but look forward to seeing him when he comes back to visit his parents. We had a good time at his party eating some great food, playing Mario Cart, Dr. Mario, and Goldeneye, as well non-video games like speed scrabble, darts, and foosball. We also had a good time praying for Greg to send him off.

Saturday we got together with various college students and headed up to Steve's family's cottage on a little lake in southern Wisconsin. I grilled burgers and hot dogs for us (I'd post the recipe to the ROUS blog but it's just "Put burger on the grill, flip until it's cooked, eat it.) that turned out okay. After lunch we headed to the beach. Steve and T.J. took the cars back and brought over the jet ski while Paul and I brought over the canoe. Paul and I should not be allowed in small watercraft together. We're big guys. We flipped the canoe in about 2 minutes. Admittedly it worked much better when we sat in the bottom of the canoe instead of on the seats but it's still a risky venture. Once we all made it to the beach we just hung out and had fun while people took turns riding the jet ski and canoeing. We played some frisbee in the water with a kid and his dog. The dog was an impressive swimmer. Sam built a pretty cool sand castle out of sand, mud, rocks, and an old mousetrap I found on the bottom of the lake that made a good drawbridge. Paul and tried to ride the jet ski together but nearly swamped it. We decided to go it alone so Paul got off and in the process I lost balance and fell off to one side, cutting my leg in the process. After that I got back on and did a few laps around the lake. It was a lot of fun. Paul later went jet skiing with Andrew. They both wiped out at one point and another time Andrew threw Paul off during a turn. It was pretty funny. Afterwards we went to Pizza Hut for supper and then Steve and I went home and watched David Lynch's Dune. Remember to "walk without rhythm so you don't attract the worm."

Sunday we heard a sermon from Matt on Simon the Sorcerer from Acts 8. After church Steve and I went to the Bristol Renaissance Fair. It's a bit expensive but we had a good time. We considered buying swords but were driven off by the prices. We saw a fight between Robin Hood and a scurvy gang of pirates in cahoots with the High Sheriff of Bristol. We also saw a 20 minute one man version of Shakespeare's Scottish Play, Dirk and Guido the Swordsmen, and the Bard O'Malley. One of Steve's highlights was watching the falconer show his birds. Steve likes falcons. We also stopped by a shop selling didjeridoos and drums. I now own a didjeridoo. I've wanted one for a while and broke down finally and bought one. An important part of the fair is the food so I got a portabella banger which is a sausage stuffed with cheese and mushrooms and a pork chop on a stick. The latter was disappointing. It was a good pork chop but didn't really work on a stick. After the fair was over we went to Jason and Bonnies to play some pit and to allow me to lose another game of Settlers. I'm getting lamentably good at that.

Fun weekend. Very tiring.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Verse of the Day

"Though the fig tree should not blossom,
nor fruit be on the vines,
the produce of the olive fail
and the fields yield no food,
the flock be cut off from the fold
and there be no herd in the stalls,
yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvation.
GOD, the Lord, is my strength;
he makes my feet like the deer's;
he makes me tread on my high places." Habakkuk 3:17-19 (ESV)

I first discovered this passage my junior year of college. I was going through a study on prayers in the Bible and Habakkuk 3 was one of the prayers. I was amazed by the power and splendor of God in Habakkuk's vision and by the place Habakkuk was in after the vision. The book of Habakkuk begins with H's complaint about evil and injustice in Judah. God responds that justice will come when He brings the Babylonians to punish the wicked Judeans. H. complains that the Babylonians are even worse than the wicked people they'll punish so how can that be just. God promises punishment for the Babylonians as well. Then H. receives his vision of the coming of God to deliver His people and judge the earth. H. responds by affirming his faith in God no matter what external circumstances appear. H. will rejoice and worship, come what may. God is his strength and salvation.

If I get motivated I'll post about my fun weekend tonight.