Sunday, May 29, 2005
When we returned to Nashville in late July of 1997, Shari & I rented an apartment on in the Hickory Hollow area and began meeting with the initial core group of 4 people (besides us) who helped plant the church @ hickory hollow. Jim Williamson (who I mentioned earlier) had worked with me as a youth sponsor at Dalewood - and was in the process of becoming Nashville City Director for the Center for Student Missions. Allen Troxler was a seminary student who became our first associate pastor. (The folks here at NewLife had the pleasure of meeting him & hearing him teach early this spring.) Michelle Mattox had also taught youth Sunday School for me. Finally, Sheridyn Smith (who would, a few years later, end up marrying Jim!), worked for the youth ministry company Interl'inc (whom I did some writing for).
What an incredible time that was... meeting together to pray and dream and think and plan about a church to reach our generation. God kept confirming that we were headed in the right direction - no more so than when He led us to Robert Grisham, our first worship leader. We met with Robert 3 or 4 times before we ever heard him play a note - our first concern was his heart for God. (Which was no problem - Robert is/was one of the most on-fire guys I've ever known.) Robert joined us in November as we headed towards our official launch in January.
This is about the same time I met Mark Puckett, the pastor of South Gate Baptist Church. We both attended a seminar at Belmont University where Richard Jackson spoke. I don't remember much about what he said (except that he seemed pretty clueless about generational issues), but I do remember meeting Mark in the shuttle bus on the way back to our cars. That began a friendship which God has used in my life over the past five years. (Mark is currently on Prince Edward Island, doing missions work - for more information on Mark & his ministry, check out his blog, Missionary Musings From The Great White North.)
The seven of us (the original 6 plus Robert) launched the church on January 25th, 1998. Our first Sunday had 37 people (no kids... we didn't have a nursery for the first 8-9 months, as we only had one family with a nine month old.) We quickly settled into 40-45 each Sunday morning, and we started a small group ministry that ballooned to 20+ people in a couple of weeks, forcing us to divide into two smaller groups to keep it manageable.
Through all of this, God took such good care of us - we were all "wet behind the ears" but He provided equipment, energy and favor with school administration and with new people. It was during these early months of the church that Steve & Shane Oakley joined us. Over time, Steve became part of our Leadership Team, while Shane sang with the worship band and ended up as the leader of our Kid's Place ministry.
The darkest moments in our first year were with our sponsor church - Dalewood. (Yep, the church I had been on staff at for the last five years.) The crowd who wanted Bro. Tim's head on a platter reached a fever pitch in the summer of 1998... and culminated in his forced termination in October.
This was no ordinary forced termination - not only did they give him less of a severance package than they had given the pastor who had resigned due to an adulterous affair, but they also dismissed the entire deacon body, as they were supporting Bro. Tim. Needless to say, Dalewood suffered another immense hemorrhage in membership, losing over 100 people in the next month.
As Bro. Tim was one of the church @ hickory hollow's main supporters, along with a number of the deacons, the core group of tc@hh quickly worked to find an alternate sponsor church. Mark Puckett stepped in, and South Gate Baptist Church unanimously voted to take us under their wing later that month. (We had to fight with Dalewood to get the last of our state convention funds for almost 4 months... it was an extremely difficult situation.)
Interestingly, the greatest growth in the life of tc@hh occurred in the early part of 1999... things were finally hitting their stride. At our largest, we averaged 60-70 attenders each week (not counting children).
Of course, growing pains were just around the corner, as we shifted from the leadership of the core group to the official leadership of the Leadership Team (an elder board of sorts). Looking back, we should have spent a longer period of time with the core group - our elders weren't seasoned enough in the faith and in life to deal with everything that was thrown at us.
The high point of the life of tc@hh was in the spring of 2000... our small groups were functioning pretty well (though they never worked as well as we had hoped). The worship service was creative and, well, rockin'... we jammed. People were coming - mostly folks who had been burned in traditional churches, but a few radically unchurched folks as well.
It's funny to say "high point" as it was one of the lowest points in our married life - we suffered our first miscarriage. The emotional pain was intense as we'd waited so long to try to have a baby. The church came along side us and loved us - and that was a part of how good it was at tc@hh, if you get my drift.
It was around this time that our friends, David & Amy Hughes, moved in next door to us. Lay people from a more traditional Baptist church in the area,they still loved on us and encouraged us (and mowed our yard nearly the entire first summer of Braeden's life!).
The next year was a year of transition, as Robert left us to attend seminary- but he helped us choose Stephen Weaver as the next worship leader before he was gone. The Leadership Team reduced in size as Jim & Sheridyn got married and Steve stepped down due to life pressures. We moved the service into the school cafeteria, which made set-up easier, but wasn't nearly as conducive to building community. Numbers were falling some, but we'd all gotten on a bit of treadmill - we were just pushing on, not always thinking about what came next.
Then what I refer to as the "Chinese water torture" of circumstances caused major upheaval in our lives and the life of tc@hh. Braeden was born in early June of 2001, which was wonderful, but took my focus off of tc@hh. 4 weeks after he was born, Shari's dad was diagnosed with cancer in his throat. We piled Braeden into our Honda and headed to Houston for his surgery - which was aborted on the table. It was inoperable.
Shari & Braeden stayed in Houston while I flew back to Nashville for two weeks, then back to Houston to bring them home. By this time, I'd spent most of the summer with my focus barely on tc@hh.
And then my grandfather died. We were gone to his funeral and family gathering for nearly a week in late August... which left me emotionally exhausted. Drip... drip... drip... one of the results of my inattention was my lack of awareness of Stephen's growing emotional exhaustion.
So it came as a complete surprise when Stephen resigned as worship leader in early September. The day he came over to talk to Shari & I about it in more detail was...9/11/01. I hate to blame a national tragedy for causing church problems, but we didn't experience the same "balloon" of people that many other churches did. Instead, the whole experience made our folks edgy and scared. And the same financial difficulties that plagued the U.S. hit us... a small church with a tiny budget.
Finally, the final straw - one of our families in the church had been through the wringer with their young son. Parker Anderson spent 11 of his 13 months in & out of the hospital with a variety of horrific medical problems - finally dying in October in the midst of a liver transplant. The folks of tc@hh had done so much to help the family and Parker - and it was a loss we all felt.
A minute ago I called this all the Chinese water torture - because it wasn't any one of these circumstances that caused us so much trouble, but the relentless drumbeat of them one right after another. I've gone over and over this in my mind - what could we have done different? What could I have done different? There are some basic things - paid more attention to Stephen's emotional health, done a better job of tracking the situation from afar - but much of what happened was out of our control.
We spent the next few months staggering forward, trying to keep it together.Our guitar player (Paul Durham) volunteered as our worship leader, and we talked through making some major changes to keep both financially viable and better able to reach people.
To be continued...
Sunday, May 22, 2005
In the spring of 1997, I resigned from Dalewood to spend the next few months preparing to plant the church @ hickory hollow. I attended conferences on GenX ministry (the prime one in Mt. Hermon, CA!) and Shari & I took a 7 week trip across the western U.S., visiting GenX church plants, seeing family, and camping.
That trip was an adventure in itself...
- we drove through 10 states: Tennesse, Arkansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, Arizona, Nevada, California, & Texas
- we saw 10 national parks: Black Canyon of the Gunnison, Colorado, Arches, Canyonlands, Bryce Canyon, Cedar Breaks, Grand Canyon (North Rim), Zion, Sequoia, & Kings Canyon
- we visited 10 churches: 3 in the Denver area (none of which were particularly impressive... but the most interesting had an intermission in the service so folks could go & get coffee and Italian ices), 3 in San Francisco (Highway Community, Graceland & The River Church Community), 2 in Los Angeles (NewSong & Calvary Church Newport Mesa), 1 in San Diego (Coastlands), and 1 in Waco (UBC)
- hanging out with Shari's very cool great-aunt in Shawnee, OK
- looking (in vain) for a bathroom in northeastern New Mexico
- hiking to the mythical gold mine (which we NEVER found) in the mountains above Pueblo, CO
- visiting a charismatic church's "GenX" service in Denver... complete with a "word of prophecy" (we should read our Bibles more) and a message guaranteed to draw GenXer's closer to God (on the current nation of Israel's place in the end times... sigh)
- the aforementioned church with the Italian ices
- stopped on a two lane road high in the Rockies, we are approached by a Jehovah's Witness who wants to, well, witness
- Shari sunbathing at 7,000 ft without sunscreen... and the 3 days of misery that followed
- racing up the slickrock at dusk to catch an incredible sunset view at Arches National Park (UT)
- carrying a gallon of water (heavy!) across slickrock spines in one of the most amazing hikes I've ever been on (again at Arches)
- the air mattress springing a leak on the same night it rained so hard the tent was weeping (at Bryce Canyon, UT)
- hiking down the winding switchback into Bryce Canyon, then climbing back out to avoid a thunderstorm
- eating dinner in the hotel overlooking the North Rim of the Grand Canyon... on the way to dinner, we walked along the canyon edge and managed to walk within 5 ft of a baby deer
- trying to set our tent up just outside Zion National Park (the ground was so hard it broke our tent stakes)... and having one of the most memorable marital fights in our marriage (I refused to ask for help - and Shari was righteously ticked at me
- holing up in a hotel in St. George, UT, to recharge our emotional batteries
- watching people robotically play slots in Vegas (a sick fascination)
- climbing Moro Rock to the top for the first time (I'd frozen trying to climb it in high school)... which meant defeating a personal fear of heights (Sequoia National Park, CA)
- spending time with Keith & Melissa for the second time in 3 months (Keith was/is my best friend from high school)
- buying games (El Grande & Siedler DSK) from the best game store on the West Coast, Gamescape... which sits on the dividing line between Haight/Ashbury and the Castro (wild area!) - the clerk had multiple piercings & green hair, but as soon as we started talking games, all the cultural barriers dropped
- visiting Graceland in Santa Cruz, CA... feeling like we were the nerdiest/least hip people in the room but still feeling welcomed to worship God (still remember the solo by a girl dressed in a top that showed off the rose tattoo on her shoulder, apologizing to the crowd that they might not know the song by this artist, Sandi Patti... he he he)
- eating one of the best burgers I've ever tasted at a bar in Big Sur, CA... btw, the only cheap place to eat in Big Sur
- fighting with a hotel clerk in San Simeon, CA, because Shari was sick and she wouldn't let us into the room we'd reserved early
- the worship music at NewSong Covina
- the surreal experience of Calvary Church Newport Mesa... an odd but wonderful blend of Willow Creek and GenX
- hanging out with my Grandpa in Pomona, CA - letting him drive (which was a major mistake... it's a wonder we're still here)
- enjoying major time with Aunt Nancy & Uncle Richard in San Diego... Shari's first "intensive" experience with the wonder that is my Aunt Nancy
- visiting Coastlands Church and feeling hope - these guys were starting a church on a shoestring just like us (and Evan Lauer is still one of the coolest godly dudes on the planet)
- exiting a buffet in Tuscon, AZ, at 8 pm and it STILL being 105 degrees
- time with Shari's family in Houston (teaching my nieces & nephew to play Sindbad)
- hanging out with my best friend from college (Tim Formby) as he showed me the house they were restoring in Tyler, TX
- going to Six Flags over TX with Tracy (Shari's cousin) and Chris Herndon & Mark Hollingsworth, who'd road-tripped down from Nashville to join us
- getting home, exhausted, and moving into our apartment
To Be Continued...
Saturday, May 21, 2005
Three months to the day from my resignation from FBC Fordyce, I went on staff at Dalewood Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, as the minister of youth. A larger church (running around 500 when we arrived), a stable pastorate (Bro. Ken had been there 10 years), following an excellent youth minister (Debbie Harned, whom Group Magazine voted Youth Leader of the Year the next year!)... we were abit gun-shy from our experience in Arkansas and we worked hard to make sure that E.G.B.O.K. (everything's gonna be OK).
As far as the youth and college ministry went, Dalewood was a dream. Debbie had trained an excellent bunch of youth workers, which I had the privilege of leading. There were a number of kids who wanted to grow deeper - and there was a history of taking God seriously, as well as a strong tradition of having fun. The best of both worlds. (A number of the very special folks first came into my life during this period. Chris Herndon was a tremendous junior high Sunday School teacher as well as a good friend. Jim Williamson was a part of our fledgling young adult Bible study group, as was Jeff Smith.)
What we didn't realize is that our pastor was in the throes of an adulterous affair with a prominent choir member. During the summer and fall of 1992, he often seemed distracted and busy, but I appreciated his "hands-off" approach to leading me, following the lists of rules & regulations I'd been forced experienced at FBC Fordyce. I interpreted his aloofness as approval. The affair was over in the late fall, but only came to light in early 1993 when the wronged husband finally followed through on his threats to tell other leaders in the church. So, in late January, the pastor sat the staff down and revealed his affair and attempts to cover it up to us.
It was like a bomb had gone off in the church... my youth were devastated, as Bro. Ken had baptized many of them - and he was their "ultimate" picture of a Christian. We spent a number of youth nights discussing sin and forgiveness and making wise choices... and just letting kids vent some of their fears and feelings about the whole situation. I'm still proud that the youth ministry was the only group in the church not to lose numerically following the "explosion."
Other parts of the church didn't react in quite as healthy a manner. There was a contigent who believed that Ken should be "forgiven" and all of this brushed under the carpet. There was a group who wanted to string him up off the church sign as a warning to future pastors. A larger group wanted to blame the woman involved. Tremendous amounts of kingdom time & energy were wasted on speculating what happened when and what was happening now.
About this same time, Shari began the long walk through dealing with clinical depression. So, here we were, struggling with the throes of depression AND the absolute insanity of the fallout of Ken's resignation. (We as a staff got regular anonymous notes from all sides, telling us what we were doing wrong.)
Still, God was big. Shari began to heal emotionally... and the three of us left (the minister of education, the minister of music and myself) split up the pastoral responsibilities and kept going.
Obviously, the church lost a number of folks (over the next year we dropped from 500 to 400 attenders), but it was not as bad as it could have been.The interim period lasted from early 1993 until September of 1994... a VERY long time. We had two interim pastors, who both did a great job helping us struggle through a difficult time.
The church called Dr. Tim Walker as it's new pastor... with the mandate to finish the building campaign we had begun in 1992 (about the time I was hired). Even with the body blow of the adulterous affair, God had still inspired people to give over $800,000 towards a $1.2 million dollar goal.
But Tim's leadership was not everyone's cup of tea - and there was a group of folks who had been blocking this particular project for nearly 20 years. When we went ahead anyway, Tim began to develop a formidable opposition in the church.
It was during this time that I was feeling the call (late 1996) to plant the church @ hickory hollow - and Chris Herndon (now a deacon) and Bro. Tim were the first two people I approached with my vision. Their prayer and encouragement helped me keep after the vision God had given me. In the spring of 1997, I resigned from Dalewood to spend the next few months preparing to plant tc@hh.
To be continued...
Thursday, May 19, 2005
After graduating from seminary in December of 1989, I worked for a few months at Dillard's (selling men's underwear) before being called to serve as the minister of youth at First Baptist Church (Fordyce,Arkansas). We were there from April 1990 - February 1992. (In the middle of all that, I managed to end up married! Shari and I were engaged in January of 1990 and got married in June.)
The first year at Fordyce was amazing - God moved in some pretty neat ways, as I had the opportunity to help rebuild a youth ministry that had struggled under a previous youth pastor.
But by the time our first wedding anniversary rolled around in June of 1991, the storm clouds were brewing. The parents who made up the youth committee were primarily interested in:
- a good safe social place for their kids
- having lots of kids come to their church
While Shari & I were on a one-night first anniversary vacation, the Youth & Personnel Commitees met to discuss my "situation". What resulted was a 3 page set of instructions that were loaded with false accusations and unreasonable demands. (A decision to keep a 14 yr old girl from flirting with a 20 yr old drunk was construed as "restricting evangelistic opportunities." Hmmm.)
We decided to begin seeking another church, while continuing to minister there at Fordyce. God encouraged us in so many ways (I developed a love for Philippians 2 during this time that has never really abated) while the situation at the church continued to deteriorate. My pastor did little to help, as he was under attack from the negative/controlling group himself.
We sent out nearly 100 resumes - with NO response. I've joked before that seeking a ministry position by sending out resumes can be like throwing paper down a black hole, but this really WAS like throwing paper down a black hole. Nothing. Nada. Zip. Zilch. We began to doubt that we were even listening to God correctly. Were we supposed to stay and tough it out?
Early in October of 1991, we sat together one morning and prayed that God would show us if we'd messed up. That day, I found out that I (and the rest of the staff) were being called into "special" individual meetings with the Personnel Committee that night.And I got fired. Well, not really - they "ended the youth ministry position" effective the end of December, which essentially meant they were firing me without firing me. The reasons were murky and the meeting odd, but Shari & I took it as confirmation of what we'd prayed.
Then, in a show of what deacons SHOULD look like, the deacons got involved. A series of meetings ensued in which all of the staff and the committees involved were grilled by the deacon body - and the lameness of the accusations against me exposed. My position was reinstated by the deacons and I was finally given the choice of what I wanted to do.
We chose to resign at the end of February. The 'hidden' conflicts had done terrific damage to the youth ministry and my personal effectiveness... even though the majority of the congregation has no idea what was going on.
Three months to the day from my resignation, I went on staff at Dalewood Baptist Church in Nashville, TN, as the minister of youth. (One of the ladies in the congregation in Fordyce had let us know that she wanted us to get every penny of the severance package - and Arlie Ruth was a major prayer warrior. My first day in Nashville was the last day of severance. Two weeks later, Arlie Ruth went home to be with Jesus. I'm still thankful for her encouragement and her prayers.)
To be continued...
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
you're watching Star Wars and when they say, "May the force be with you,"
you reply, "and also with you." For a more serious/thoughtful Star Wars story, check out Get Religion's Star Wars R Us?. And if you don't know who Rob Suggs is, you're really missing out. (Couldn't find the cartoon "Liturgical Fads of the 1950's" - which inspired the title of this post - online where y'all could see it... but you can get a taste of Rob's mad cartoon skillz here.)
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Erwin McManus, The Barbarian Way
Monday, May 16, 2005
“Raised on more ”passive“ media, including TV, newspapers, radio and billboards, adults are content with linear entertainment experiences that unfold in a traditional story-like way. They are more patient (read: willing to wait in line) and, Lindstrom says, can cope with only about 1.7 channels of communication at once. Children, by contrast, can simultaneously master 5.4 channels of communication (including surfing the Internet, text messaging and talking on the phone). They yearn for entertainment that is frenetic, multi-sensory and interactive."So what does this mean for your average evangelical worship service? Or, to bring my hobby into the discussion, for the design of a board game?
Congrats, Tom. Thanks, Jesus.
When we don't get what we deserve
It's a real good thing
When we get what we don't deserve
It's a real good thing Born to sin
And then get caught
All our good deeds
Don't mean squat Sell the Volvo
Shred the Visa
Send the cash to Ma Teresa
The only catch is
You don't get saved
On merit badges When we don't get what we deserve... Doctor's coming
"Do you have a favorite hymn?" Check your balance through the years
All accounts are in arrears
Guilt is bitter
Grace is sweet
Park it here
On the mercy seat When we don't get what we deserve... "It's A Real Good Thing" - Recorded by The Newsboys. Lyrics by Steve Taylor and Peter Furler
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Braeden's been taking swim lessons from Jamie's School of Fish (shameless plug: Jamie's a neat lady, plus a former staff wife from NewLife works there, plus they've done an incredible job of teaching Braeden to swim). And one of the things that he's proudest of is when he jumps into the deep end of the pool and swims the length of it. (OK, he has help: Mr. Devon & Miss Jamie act like 'way stations' on their trip across - but still, he's not quite 4, and I'm his dad, and so... impressive!) Watching him do this the last few weeks (I've been filling in for Shari as The Parent Who Goes To Swim Lessons while she has been recovering from the C-section) has reminded me a lot of my "professional" life. At NewLife Community Church, we're about to jump into the "deep end" in a number of areas. What makes the "deep end" scarier is that it's the first time for me to jump into these areas, as well:
- we've just hired a summer youth minister
- we're clicking right along in the process of calling a full-time worship & youth pastor
- we're planning a $250,000-$300,000 capital campaign for the fall
Any one of these would be a big deal - stuff them all into one year AND add in the birth of Collin Blake (and his subsequent health issues), and you've got The Deep Dish Pizza Pie of Overwhelmingness baking in the oven we call my brain.Now, those of you who've known me a while know that I do have some experience:
- being a youth minister (13 years part- and full-time)
- working with worship leaders (hi, Robert, Stephen, Paul & Mark)
Which, as it goes, is good. But I've never supervised a youth minister... I was always on the other side of the desk, so to speak. I enter this summer praying that I can remember what is was like to be "the staff person"... that I can give direction without stifling creativity or imposing my personal (and seriously dated) view of "good" youth ministry on Jenn Shumaker. (You can pray for Jenn... heck, you can pray for me, too. I'm sure not going to stop you.)As for working with worship leaders, I'd showed over time that I have alternated between way too much direction (my Chinese water torture of Robert to make the church @ hickory hollow's music cool yesterday if not before) and way too little (evidenced by the summer of 2001, where Stephen had to carry things pretty much by himself.) As well, all the paid staff members I've supervised (3 worship leaders & 2 associate pastors) were part-time... in one case (hi, Chris!) VERY part-time. I've never had the privilege/responsibility of being the senior pastor on a staff with a full-time person. Moreover, the "hiring process" we used at tc@hh ("process"... giggle, snort) was not a full-blown ministry search. Heck, it was barely a process. (To our credit, we were hiring/calling part-time worship leaders.) So this whole "search team" deal is brand new territory for me. (Thankfully, some of the search team have been on other search teams - including the one that called me to NewLife!) As for pastoring a church through a capital campaign, I need to have a "C" tattooed on my forehead for "clueless". My nearly 8 years in the pastorate have included no major fundraising... and the only campaign I was involved in as a staff member occurred mostly before I came on staff. (And then blew up when our pastor resigned due to an adulterous affair - but that's a story for another post. And, yes, I realize I've been promising a lot of 'historical' posts - I'll get to 'em eventually.) Anyway, I'm jumping off into the deep end. Which, of course, is exactly where God wants me to be... in a place where I have to trust Him more than my knowledge or experience. Splash!
Monday, May 09, 2005
Sunday, May 08, 2005
- Around the World in 80 Days
Tuesday, May 03, 2005
Monday, May 02, 2005
I decided to Google myself this morning. (For those who are not computer-savvy, Google is a very effective search engine that helps find websites that match the information you put into the system.) In this case, I typed in "mark jackson" pastor (the quotes make sure the search engine looks for occurences of the whole phrase) and it spit out 614 results. I found ample evidence of my gaming obsession - not only stuff I've posted on the web but also mentions from friends. (There's even a reference to an internet radio show/podcast that I did late last year on a show called Geekspeak.) The website I put up when I was hunting for a church (and you guys here at NewLife were hunting for me) is still active. (Which is weird... but kind of cool.) There's even an article I was quoted in about the On Target Conference I attended back in February. (I remember being interviewed for the California Baptist state paper - though I don't remember saying one of the quotes attributed to me. Not that I disagree with what it says I said... I'm just not sure I said it to the reporter.) Then, of course, there's the references to people who aren't me, but just share my name:
- Mark Jackson, NBA star, who somehow got caught up in a turf war between the coach of the Knicks & the team chapel pastor
- a playwright named Mark Jackson (though the reviews of his play call it "sprawling & unlikely")
- any number of Pastor Mark Jackson's, including a couple of Dr. Mark Jackson's (man, that looks weird to see my name with a "Dr." in front of it)
- a Lutheran youth ministry professor
- some dead people (obituaries)
- and at least one guy serving in our armed forces
Which brings me to the most interesting part of my search - there's a Mark Jackson who is, oddly enough, been convicted of bilking church members in Tennessee and California out of approximately $1.2 million dollars. (He's also up for charges in Georgia... you can read the article at Apologetics Index for more information.) Here's the random thoughts that went through my head when I found this guy:
- boy, if I'd embezzled over $1 million bucks, we sure wouldn't need to do a capital campaign later this year
- how weird is it that this guy bilked churches in the last two states I've lived in?
- man, I hate the prosperity gospel - it's anti-biblical and it has a tendency to give people permission to do stupid things
- what would it take in my life to turn me into a con man?
If you're looking for a grand point to all this, I'm not sure I have one. But I'll certainly give it a try... maybe the overwhelming "someone walked on my grave" feeling of finding this con artist sharing my name comes from the fact that I'm invested in taking care of Mark. I've spent nearly 41 years building a reputation & a persona, and I'm not interested in letting someone/anyone mess that up.Not even God. So, maybe my reaction is not so much about my righteous indignation at a health & wealth "gospel" matchstick man. Maybe it's about my own fears of my precious life plan being altered... or of my carefully built facade crumbling under the weight of reality. I don't know... I'm going to have to think about this one a bit. What about you? What "important thing" are you scared God is going to take away? We must remember there are many more important things, many more important things . . . off hand, I can't think of what they are, but I'm sure there must be something.
Willie Wonka, from the film Willie Wonka & The Chocolate Factory
This post originally appeared in the 5/2/05 edition of The Grapevine, the newsletter of NewLife Community Church.
- the long-defunct DCA ride "Superstar Limo" is being remade as a Monsters Inc. "dark ride" (a dark ride is something like Peter Pan or Snow White... where you zip through memorable scenes from the movie)
- the very popular "Turtle Talk with Crush" show (recently opened at EPCOT in Florida) will also open in the Animation Building at DCA
- the Submarine ride at D-land is getting a "Finding Nemo" re-do which will incorporate the old subs & sub track into a new ride experience (this should be finished in late 2006)
- there's serious talk of an E-ticket (think Space Mountain or Indiana Jones) ride with an Incredibles theme for DCA (with a planned opening in 2007)
- the whole family waits in line
- when you reach the loading area, the older sibling & one adult get on and ride while the other adult & infant wait at the loading area
- when the older sibling & 1st adult return, the adults swap the baby and the older sibling & 2nd adult ride
Sunday, May 01, 2005
- "Officiating" a game is a great way to introduce people you enjoy to a game you enjoy that won't play 7 players. In this case, Viva Pamplona tops out with six players, so I took the privilege of turning over the Toro cards and giving strategy hints.
- Viva Pamplona is a really cool game in the same vein as the ever-popular Midnight Party or the less well-known (and ridiculously expensive) Viva Topo. Players attempt to run from the bulls (well, bull, in this case) while gaining courage points for staying close to him (but not behind him) and by pushing/shoving other players.
So far, so good. One of the discoveries was that rice cereal is not an effective thickener - it tends to clump, so you have water-y parts and thick parts. Instead, we're now using something called Thick-It, which does the job in an even (and expensive, of course) manner. Using the thickener did not entirely stop the choking/gagging, but it did seem to minimize it.
By Friday night, we were both exhausted and hoping that Collin would sleep more comfortably. Well, Collin & Daddy (that's me) took that into their own hands around 3 am. I was getting ready to change a poopy diaper when I picked Collin up and moved him the length of the crib. His NG tube (still in under doctor's orders - "in case we need it again") caught on the blanket and the tape ripped off his face. I hit the nurse's call button as Collin began sneezing up his feeding tube inch-by-inch. By the time the nurse got there, she decided to pull the tube... and there was only a 1/2 inch left in his nose. (I really liked the night nurse - she confided that she'd wanted to pull the tube earlier!) With the tube, he began to take it easier... as would I, if you took a long yellow tube out of my body!
Saturday morning, we puttered around, wondering what came next. The attending physician came in and asked me if we wanted to go home - the answer, of course, was YES. Then began the Dance Of Discharge, which is only slightly shorter than the 30 Years War.
And since nothing is that easy - a doctor came in to "observe" Collin feed (as Shari requested) and left after a minute, since nothing was going wrong. Not 30 seconds after she left, Collin began gagging. We got into a long & not terribly productive discussion with our nurse, another nurse who was an "expert" on lactation, and the doctor. In short, the conversation proved that
- some doctors don't listen very well
- some doctors need etiquette courses (dismissing Shari's request with "we don't have time for that" being the most clear example)
- some doctors need to be careful about giving advice so freely when they've only glanced at the chart
We still went home - which we wanted, as it didn't seem like further discussion with the weekend staff was going to do anything. After renting a Medala pump and dealing with the pharmacy, we finally arrived home at 3 in the afternoon.
Well, it's 3 pm Sunday afternoon, and Collin is doing much better when we get the consistency of the feeds right. (For the record, what we're attempting to do flows like thick Malt-O-Meal.) Shari's getting some much needed sleep, and I'm back at the church, getting ready for two meetings & a missions study.)
Thanks for all who've been praying for us. Please don't stop now. :-)