I update this blog almost every day. It could be about anything: politics & current events, religion, work, geek-related materials. Sometimes I just post random thoughts.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Bible Cover - An Inspiration

I purchased a bible cover this week and it has a poem on the front cover. I am not sure if you have seen this poem, but it has deep personal significance for me. I have copied in here so that you would be able to read it.


By Margaret Fishback Powers

One night I dreamed a dream.
I was walking along the beach with my Lord.
Across the dark sky flashed scenes from my life.
For each scene,
I noticed two sets of footprints in the sand,
One belonging to me and
One to my Lord.

When the last scene of my life shot before me
I looked back at the footprints in the sand.
There was only one set of footprints.
I realized that this was at the lowest
And saddest times of my life.
This always bothered me
And I questioned the Lord
about my dilemma.

"Lord, You told me when i decided to follow You,
You would walk and talk with me all the way.
But i'm aware that during the most troublesome
Times of my life there is only one set of footprints.
I just don't understand why, when I need You most,
You leave me."

He whispered, "My precious child,
I love you and will never leave you,
never, ever, during your trials and testings.
When you say only one set of footprints,
It was then that I carried you."

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Wisconsin Sports Update

Since I am having something of a burst of posting ideas, I thoughts I might offer a sports update:

Packers - At 7-8, the Packers have a shot at the playoffs. I'll give you a minute to let that sink in. Even though we are 0-6 against teams with a winning record and have only beaten crappy teams, the Packers can make the playoffs with a little help from a few other teams. Even if we did make the playoffs, I don't give us much hope of doing anything. More talk of the playoffs as we get to games that matter. The Giants/Redskins game holds the first key. Go Redskins!

- The Bucks are in the middle of a five-game winning streak and are currently one game over .500 at 15-14. It has been wonderful to be a on break, have more time to watch sports and see the Bucks winning in the process. Michael Redd is taking it to the hoop, drawing fouls and getting more points. Bogut is slowing establishing himself as a consistent post player. Mo Williams stepped up and filled the point gaurd role. This was a major concern for many folks. We gave some good role-players (Skinner, Garzuric, Blake) to complement some established and up and coming stars. At least they're fun to watch and they're competitive.

- So, the Brewers have signed Jeff Suppan to a 4-year, $42-million deal. When I first read the news, I was very excited. Adding another arm to the rotation could make the Brewers a formidable opponent. When I was home over the Christmas holiday, I was reading the Milwaukee Journal/Sentinel and read more about the pitcher we are acquiring.

If you look at his overall record, he is not much over 0.500. He is also over 30. While his last few years have been really good, he also played for team in the Cardinals that gave him plenty of run support, something he will not have the luxury with the Brewers. We are also paying him more than twice what the Cardinals were willing to pay him. This is more than we have ever paid for anyone on the Brewers.

While he's a great pick-up for the Brewers, we have invested a lot of money in him. He better be healthy over those three years or the Brewers are truly going to regret this move.


Another Christmas has come and gone. The feelings of the season continue, but the day has indeed passed. Of any year, this year's Christmas has the most relgious significance for me and has been the most meaningful. I suppose this requires some explanation.

As a kid growing up, Christmas was all about the presents; the attendance at church was an afterthought, almost a burden. I understood that we celebrated the birth of Jesus on this day, but I didn't necessarily understand the true significance of the holiday. I can remember the GI Joe headquarters & the yearly Lifesavers Book among other gifts really bringing a real energy to that particular season.

I joke with my parents and with others that the older you get, the more practical Santa gets. As I am now 30 and have a full-time job, I can play the role of Santa for myself. Perhaps it takes some of the fun out of purchasing gifts to me, but it allows other "Santas" to be practical with something that I may not think about, but might be useful for me. Overall, though, gift receiving is not as important to me.

My return to the Christian faith and my adoption of Methodism has generated in me a real reverence for Jesus Christ and his birth. The presents are fun, but I have more fun figuring out what I am going to get for others. Now more than ever I appreciate times like Thanksgiving and Christmas for the opportunities I have to be with my family.

I don't have a big family...when I go home, it's me, and my mom and dad. I suppose you can count the cats (Scully & Gizmo). But, as small as we are, those times together are veryimportant to me. I am not always the best in keeping in touch with my parents so I am sure they appreciate the time I am home as well. It is these feelings mixed with "the reason for the season" that bring me the most joy for Christmas.

As the new year approaches, it is again an opportunity to reflect on what is important to us. I feel as though my priorities in life continue to improve and this year has been an excellent step.

A New Beginning...of Sorts

I can safely say that for the last five years (if not more) I have made resolutions to change things for the new year. And, every year, they usually don't work out. Something might make it through the year and actually become a part of who I am, but for the most part it doesn't usually work out. I am truly hopeful that this year may be different.

To help facilitate some changes for the year 2007, I have done the following:
  1. I have made a detailed list of all of the things that I would like to do (or stop doing) and created a Word document to keep them. That way I can print it out and always have it with me.
  2. It is an agreement that I am signing, but Christa is also signing. I am hoping that she can keep me accountable to what I said I would be doing. She will be some excellent motivation.
  3. This is also an agreement that I have made with God. Along with making me feel like I'm a better person, I think it will also help me to be a better Christian.
I won't get into the details of what I'm doing, but I am excited for the new year and I am excited for change. Hopefully, you see a difference.

Friday, December 22, 2006

You Thought I Was Done...

...I'm not. It has almost been a week since I last posted. I can think of various reasons why this happened:
  1. Without work, I have been much more paid back in terms of getting tasks done. I have gotten used to doing less.
  2. I have also dedicated time to other projects that I have put on hold for most of the semester.
  3. There hasn't been all that much to blog about.
Regardless, I'm back...with my 272 post!

Christmas Shopping
In a three-day period, I got all my Christmas shopping done. I think I did fairly well, but I didn't have the same energy as in years before.

Christa and I took a chance and saw Rocky Balboa. My expectiations for the movie were not that high, and that was probably the right attitude to have. This movie was OK. I would give it a 6.5 on the IMDB 10 point scale. It had some good lines and had some great moments. But, it was the same tired Rocky concept recycled for one more movie. It does leave a better taste in your mouth than Rocky V.

I am getting things ready for my AD&D campaign for next semester. Letters should be going out to potential players to get characters created over interim. Hopefully the games will begin in February.

According the Muppet Personality Test (thanks, Christa) I am Kermit the Frog. Go figure.

It is snowing and raining right now. Odd.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Cookies & Garrett

Due to various obligations, Christa needed to make some Christmas cookies. For those of you outside of the UW Oshkosh community, it is final's week here. So, Christa has been really, really busy this week. I figured the least I could do was make the cookies for her. I watched my mom bake cookies all the time growing up...I could make this happen. Regardless of my previous experiences, I was worried about the following possibilities:
  1. I really have never baked cookies myself. I have watched cookies being baked, but I have never done it myself.
  2. I don't have a mixer...I suppose it just means my arms are going to get tired stirring everything together.
  3. I was worried that after I mixed everything together, it wouldn't have the write consistency and I would have no idea what to do aid with this problem.
  4. Baking them also posed a concern. Would I not cook them through the whole way? Would I burn them? Would I forget about them in the oven?
Despite all the concerns, the cookies were made and I think they turned out OK. We'll see what Christa's class think of the cookies in class today. Hopefully no one dies...then the rest should be OK for distribution. Note to self, don't make the cookies so big. The ones that I made could constitute a meal each ;).

* * * * * * * * * *

In the mail yesterday, I received a package from the Garrett Theological Seminary at Northwestern University in Chicago, IL. It was an application for admission as well as other information about their various programs. As I think about the possibility of going into the seminary for ordained ministry, I am beginning to think about how it fight fit into the larger life picture.

They offer a full-time and part-time option. If I chose to go full-time, I could probably support a part-time job and Christa would need to find a teaching job. It would probably mean that we move to the Chicago area while I am in school. The full-time option would take three years.

If I choose the full-time route, it would be a five year process. I'm not sure how I feel about spreading out another Master's degree over five years. However, what I like about this option is that is offers some interesting options for employment. The part-time option is only two nights a week which means I could possibly live in Milwaukee or even Oshkosh. I could possibly take a position in the church or maybe work on campus part-time. I would like to stay in Oshkosh if I could. It would also allow Christa to utilize the greater Fox Valley area for possible teaching jobs. We'll see...I have a few weeks ahead to do some quality research!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Unexpected Event

As I was finishing up a few items yesterday morning, I received an E-mail from our church secretary, letting me know that the Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church will be willing to reimburse the cost of my trip to the Exploration 2006 Conference in Jacksonville, FL.

When I went to the conference, I did notice that a lot of the students there were getting support from their state conferences. I had no idea that was an option. I assumed that I was footing the bill. Apparently word got around to the Wisconsin Conference that I was there, so it is being covered by them. Woot!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Rationing the Nuggets

Usually once every other week, Blackhawk offers chicken nuggets for lunch. Over the four years that I have been here, the nuggets have changed, um, designs if you will and have gotten decreasingly tasty. Yet, nugget day is still treated with reverence and I am still excited to get my ration of nuggets for lunch.

You read that right; I can go up and get my ration. The lunch folks are only allowed to give us a designated amount of nuggets. It fluctuates, but it's usually around 8-10 nuggets. These nuggets aren't all that big, so for me it's not too much of a lunch. If you ask for more nuggets, they will not let you have any more. However, if you are willing to go to the back of the line and you go through again, you can get another ration of nuggets. How does that work?

Is chicken nugget waste that much of a concern? If it is, I have not heard about it. I suppose I am not familiar with the going price of the chicken nugget, but I am amazed that it is expensive enough that is the one food that we need to limit consumption of.

I'm not sure what it is about these nuggets that makes them so good that we need to ration them. Four years ago, I might have been able to make the argument, but now, they're not that good. They don't even ration bacon, which to me might make more sense. I can understand that good bacon might be pretty expensive.

I wrote this article in lue of creating a Facebook group about. It's probably for the best.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Stomach Flu

I have not posted in awhile. I have had the stomach flu since Thursday morning. I was in and out of the office both days and was also committed to some church choir events that did not allow me to commit to resting. As of this morning, I think I have finally gotten over everything. I will spare you the details; it was not a pretty last couple days. I am just thankful to be well again and catch up on all of the stuff that I have missed over the last three days.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Assorted Thoughts

Nothing topical today, just a few thoughts:
  • My copy of The Christian as Minister came today. Hopefully I can work through that this month so that I can get my letter to the District Superintendent to get the process going.
  • This afternoon, Peter, Dave & I are coming out of retirement for another round of Cubitz. Apparently, we are taking on their best team from the year. Hopefully we can hold on to the crown.
  • I am participating in the Breese Hall Rummage Sale tonight. Let's see if my accumulated junk might be someone else's treasure.
  • At 9:00 PM I am doing a presentation in Nelson Hall about First Edition Dungeons and Dragons...my second presentation about it this semester. Score!
  • Sadly, I also am not feeling well today...shame I picked a day with all these meetings to feel sick. Bleh.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Meetings! / LBGTQ Rally

In a previous post, I have commented that you can boil down my job to two main functions: meetings and & paperwork. Boy, if this is ever the week for meetings.

The previous weekend was a rowdy one for my building and there were quite a few documentations for a building this size. That results in student meetings throughout the week. I have two meetings related to NACURH. I have a few hall government and staff one on ones. I have a meeting with a council co-chair, a meeting with my counseling center liaison, two NBC Village meetings, a staff development.

I was really surprised about how quickly the week was gobbled up by meetings this week. That's the last time I ever make a comment about how I haven't had many meeting lately.

* * * * * * * * * * *

I also wanted to give a huge shout-out to the Rainbow Alliance for HOPE and the LGBTQ Council for co-sponsoring a rally from noon to 1:00 PM today in front of the Polk Library. There were speeches, cheers and a good crowd. For the 30 minutes that I could be there, I carried a "Straight, but not narrow" sign.

Their message was clear. It has always been a struggle fro LBGTQ students, faculty and staff to find equality. The climate is worse than ever with the passing of this amendment. I am hopeful the message will get out there and people will act.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Ministry Candidacy

Becky brings up an interesting question from yesterday's post, and I wanted to talk more about the ministry candidate process. Thanks, Becky!

Nothing would quite be Methodist if it didn't involve committees, paperwork and a multi-step process. So, the path to ministry is no different. Before one might actually become a Methodist minister, they have to become a ministry candidate.

To become a ministry candidate you must apply to a District Superindent who will in turn assign you a pastoral mentor. The two of you will work together for awhile, and along the way you need to get an endorsement from both the Staff/Parish Relations Committee as well as the approval of your congregation at a Charge conference. After that, you answer some questions and go before a panel that looks at your work and answers a few questions. If you complete all of this, you are a candidate...

...then, you have to think about the process for ordained ministry which involves seminary and that's a whole other process. *whew*

So, I have taken the first step toward candidacy. I am planning on writing the District Superintendent around the new year and get the ball rolling. I will keep you posted as I move along in the process.

Monday, December 04, 2006

Thoughts From the Weekend

Some thoughts from the weekend:
  • Wow...the Packers suck. I know that the local media and others are saying that this team is improving, but it has been painful to watch. To think, only a few weeks ago we were talking about this team making a possible run at the playoffs. Nothing that two brutal losses can't cure.
  • I bought Dance Dance Revolution. I can't necessarily beg one solid reason for it. I think it had merit as a form of exercise, but I also just find the game fun to play. Between that and Guitar Hero 1/2, I have quite a gaming collection.
  • Christa and I took a trip to Green Bay so that she could pick up a book she needed for class. Am I a great fiance or what?
  • I got a lot of work done regarding the church. I got a letter out to all members of church letting them know abotu our new pastor. I finished up my responsibilities as a member of the Worship Commission. I followed up with our new pastor to make sure things are going OK.
  • This coming Sunday Christa will officially become a member of FUMC Oshkosh.
  • I also made a public announcement to the congregation at FUMC Oshkosh that I am pursuing candidacy in Methodist church. Where this specifically leads I don't know, but it is a big step. The congregation has offerred nothing but support. I am very excited!

Friday, December 01, 2006

Basement Stereo

I received a note from my custodian this morning saying that I should probably go look at the basment stereo in Breese Hall. That's never a good sign.

Upon inspection, someone decided to unplug everything having to do with our stereo system. They unplugged the speakers, the components, the plugs, everything. As I find myself asking at least once a week, "Why would someone ever do that?" I'll just add it to the list.

It all seems repairable, and I think I may try to put everything back together later this morning. I would let the residents of Breese know that if they have any leads as to who might have done this, it would be very helpful. A Common Area Damage charge will definitely be warranted if no specific culprit is found.

And by the way, if I didn't already have to grow the beard due to snow, I would now. It is really snowing out there. Sweet!