Saturday, July 30, 2005

How Old Am I? And Static...

Ok, it's so weird, but I had 9 posts for the lol entry. People may just be bored, but I wonder if it’s that people like to correct old people like me. I mean, Alex had a great explanation of why he uses lol and what all the different statements mean. I honestly think he was right on, especially after seeing other people's comments. It does seem that lol just means someone thought that was funny.

Obviously I'm getting to the point where I'm old and crotchety. I think that lol should mean what the acronym stands for. But now I'll just have to change my way of thinking and go with lol meaning "hey, that's funny"!

Of course, this also means I have to accept that I'm old. But then I tell everyone that I'm old. Of course, the usual answer from teenagers is that I AM old. From adults I get that I'm incredibly young. Another thing I realized in high school is that you’re apparently only as old as the person you are asking. Anyone older than you (and I mean, even if they are one month older than you) will say you're young. Anyone younger than you (and now I mean anyone one month or younger) will be happy to say how old you are.

So, I guess I'm admitting how old I am with the question about lol (though I am pretty Internet savvy, so I really do know a lot about AIM - but then I used savvy in a sentence, so I must be old).

Thankfully I got to feel young yesterday evening. I called our priest Father Rob to ask a question about buying movie tickets for youth group. He gets on the phone and does a GREAT impression of a very staticky line with hiss and everything. It was incredibly believable... Except... I had to inform him cell phones are all digital now. The static and hiss is all analog. Teenagers today may not even know what static is (except from the radio maybe). If it's a bad connection the person just drops off.

So, he appreciated the delicate way I handled the situation (heh heh) and got even with me by stopping talking at incredibly inconvenient times the rest of the night. I got the last laugh by filling him in on this story below:

When I was asking myself the question "How Old Am I?" I was thankful for the great answer... Thank goodness I'm not as old as Rob... he's still analog!


Tuesday, July 26, 2005


If the most common letter in the English language is e then the most common phase in the IM language (bear with me, it's kind of a language) is lol. More and more people use lol and I'm convinced they use it incorrectly (or I'm to stubborn change it's meaning).

Now, I'd hope we all know what lol stands for... Anybody??? Bueler, Bueler??? Laugh out loud (or Laughing out loud). Now, here's my question. When people really say lol are they really laughing out loud? Is whatever was said so fully they actually opened their mouths and laughed?

I had an IM conversation today with one of the youth in our youth group, and I think every third sentence she put lol. Something may have been very slightly funny, and it got a lol. I see the same thing from other youth I IM with regularly (and even some adults).

So, my question is really this. Does lol just mean that you think what was said was funny, or did you actually laugh out loud?

I get grief from people because I say Hehehe when something's and Hahaha when I chuckle out loud. But I rarely actually open out and bust out with laughter (but then I have a very loud annoying laugh, so I save it for conversations with actual people... Hehe).

Ok, that was just my question and thought for the day. What do you think lol really means?


Devotion on Romans 4:7-12

Here's a super early preview of the devotion two weeks from now. After this I promise to write some normal stuff about life tomorrow. I already know what it'll be on... the term lol.

Reading this passage I'm reminded of a conversation I had with one of the youth group members today. The conversation went something like this.

"These two friends of ours just started dating. We all know it's not going to work out though."

This simple statement sparked a lot of different thoughts. But the main spark came from looking at me. How often have I said something similar about friends or co-workers? Said something like

"I really like them, but they just have no common sense sometimes"
"That project is going to fail, I just know it"

When I heard the words this time I was reminded of a different attitude I had in high school. One I have lost a little but have been regaining recently. I began to wonder, why am I worrying about how bad something will be? Why don't I help support it with my own gifts?

So I posed the question right back at the youth. Why are you and your friends already thinking about when and how the relationship will end? Wouldn't it be better to support them in their relationship to the best of your abilities? Then if it ends you can continue to support them as individuals?

Just posing this challenge made me feel pretty good and has sparked a change within myself. Reading this passage this afternoon only deepens that change. Whether our friends have failings or not we should always support them and go a step further by building them up. We should also extend the same courtesy to strangers. Making someone else feel good will bring a smile to their face and will always build you up inside.

Next time I begin to think negatively, I'll remember this passage. Remember that I can please God and make myself shine inside by sharing a kind word and praising someone else.


Devotion on Romans 4:7-12

We'll be heading out to Montana this Sunday for a mission trip. So Iwill of course continue to be bad about posting to my blog. But I have written my weekly devotionals for this week and next. Here's a quick preview for this week:

Personally, the entire circumcision discussion got a bit confusing there for me. That's kind of funny to me since the passage itself is so incredibly powerful. Sometimes it is just easy to get bogged down in language and miss the real point. The real point here is forgiveness. How many of us have ever made a mistake (come on, I want to see those hands raised)? How many have made a really big mistake? How many have broken a relationship or someone's heart? Unfortunately I've done all of these things, and I'd guess many of you have as well.

But one of the reasons God has such a strong hold on me is unconditional love. No matter how many times I mess up He will forgive me. This passage is telling me that I am blessed because my sin will not count against me.

But this passage has an even stronger message for the world. Remember that whole confusing part about circumcision? What its saying is that to be forgiven I don't have to be anyone special. I don't have to be part of the special few who are selected to take part in some ceremony. I can be myself.

What this all says is that anyone and everyone is able to be forgiven in God's eyes. Truly, when it comes to eternity, whose other opinion matters?


Saturday, July 23, 2005

Tom Recommends

Last but not least. Our pastor Father Rob was on vacation this past week. so he asked me to write an entry for him on things to recommend. He writes these on anything and everything, and you can check them out at Rob Recommends. So, here was my entry while he was out of town.

While Father Rob is taking a much needed vacation, I’ve offered to step in and do something I enjoy, talk about things I like (who doesn’t want to share what makes them happy). Last week my teenage cousin Phylicia came to visit from Connecticut, and we did a few of the sights in both Baltimore and Washington.

While in Baltimore we went to the National Aquarium (not the National Aquarium in DC, did you even know there was one?), which was fine (we spent about 45 minutes there), but the shining time for us was our visit to the American Visionary Art Museum across the harbor (where we spent 2 hours). This museum holds all sorts of different works of art, with paintings, sculptures, entire rooms made of sequins and beads, quilts, wooden toys and a life-sized chess set (Phylicia and I stink at chess, so we left the pieces where they were).

The museum is made up of three different buildings, the main building housing most of the exhibits. A middle warehouse with the chess set and a few sculptures along with a great “wooden meditation chapel and wedding altar” (I’d call it a jungle gym). The third building has a long line of wooden automatic tows, so you can push a button and watch the toys move. The third building also houses cars run during their annual Kinetic Sculpture Race (these look almost like floats but have to be man-powered and run over road, sand and in water, we may have a youth group trip to see this next year).

The artwork is by little known artists who just have some amazing talent. If you go sometime soon I’d definitely recommend making it to the third floor to read and see the 36 embroidery pieces chronicling a Jewish woman and her family through the German occupation during World War II. This was a heartbreaking and moving exhibit.

The next day Phylicia and I went into DC. We enjoyed the National Zoo (especially the new cheetah cubs). We then headed down to the Tidal Basin in Southwest DC, across from the Jefferson Memorial for a paddle boat ride. Here’s a pretty cheap ($8 an hour, though you’ll never be out that long) and fun way to see the Jefferson Memorial and the Washington Monument. You hop in a little boat and paddle around with a view of the monuments from the water, just talking and seeing the monuments, bridges and nature around you. The tidal basin is pretty small, so you’ve seen almost everything after 40 minutes, but it’s still a relaxing time where you just watch life around and talk to each-other.

After Phylicia left I had to entertain myself somehow, so I began reading Hyperion by Dan Simmons. While I haven’t finished yet (about 150 pages to go) I can already recommend this to anyone looking for a new author to try. Dan Simmons is new to me, but I may soon be reading everything he’s written.

This is a Hard Science Fiction novel (Hard Sci-Fi is stories in the future based on actual science and physics, for example, you can’t fly between planets in anything less than years). The book follows 7 pilgrims as they return to the planet Hyperion.

What really sets this book apart for me is the way it’s told. There are very strong religious themes. Each pilgrim shares their own life stories, with each story seemingly written by a different author. In one section a poet is the character telling the story and it took me a while to get used to the flair and writing style.

To be fair, this is one of four books in The Hyperion Cantos Series. I also should warn that there is definitely some explicit language, as well as people suffering serious doubts about their spirituality. However, one of the pilgrim’s stories actually brought me to tears (sobs actually), which has not happened with a book for a very long time.


Devotion on Romans 12:9-21

This Sunday's post was on Romans 12:9-21. Here's what I was thinking about that one. I'd recommend reading this passage, it's kind of fun and good for couples.

I've been listening to the song If We Are The Body by Casting Crowns a bit ever since CreationFest. The song describes the sad state in our churches where we are don't welcome strangers with open arms. The two verses are:

It's crowded in worship today
As she slips in trying to fade into the faces
The girls teasing laughter is carrying farther than they know
Farther than they know

But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way

A traveler is far away from home
He sheds his coat and quietly sinks into the back row
The weight of their judgmental glances
Tells him that his chances are better out on the road

Today's passage moved me, especially after listening to this song and, sadly, even looking around our church and youth group.

Last week my cousin was up vsiting. Thursday evening she came with me to Starbucks and very, very few people in the group introduced themselves to her. Even fewer made her really feel welcome.

Earlier that day Caitlyn Tracy (and all the Tracy's) opened their home and horses up to us. Phylicia had really wanted to go horseback riding, but we hadn't found anywhere near here that would be fun for a teenager. For those that don't know her, Caitlyn has been riding horses for years, taking lessons and is generally very good at it. I gave them a call seeing if they had suggestions of places to go, and Caitlyn jumped at the chance to let Phylicia ride horses with her.

I did find out later that Caitlyn was a little nervous about it, thinking it might be ok to let Phylicia ride for a little while then hang out with another friend. In the end Caitlyn and Phylicia both had a great time and began a good friendship. Both of them took a chance and tried working in harmony with one-another. Caitlyn didn't let her own experience with horses let her ignore Phylicia and her inexperience. At Starbucks that night Phylicia and Caitlyn were joined at the hip.

So often we ignore the person who wants to be ignored. Someone comes into the room and stands off in the corner... how often do we say hello to them?

The beauty of this passage is that God is telling us that we are his body. We must not hate, but instead show peace and love for those who treat us badly. We must remember that no matter how God has gifted us in this life, we should always welcome and support those who may not have it as well as we do. But, more than anything, we must remember that God want's everyone in His kingdom. Why do we think that excludes those we don't like?


Devotional Entry for Romans 11:33-12:2

Since it's been a while since I've updated the blog I'm going to post a few things I've been writing for church. Hopefully now that life has settled down a bit I'll be able to write more. But here's a devotion I wrote for church last Sunday based on the reading from Romans 11:33-12:2

I was at CreationFest a few weeks ago (a 4 day music festival with lots and lots of loud bands and great times). One of the stories I heard from Taylor Leach was the following:

Hey, look what I've got? (She then showed me a quarter with her name on it). While we were at the store we sat on a bench for a little while next to this really cool youth minister. He took a pencil and passed it through a quarter I gave him. He also showed us this really cool card trick, it was awesome!

Knowing Taylor's mom Jodie was there, I told her I'd heard about the "magician" youth minister. Here was her version of the story:

(Jodie began by rolling her eyes)
Yeah, that guy was really scary. He had his hair spiked and dyed orange, and his fingernails were painted orange. Plus he was dressed really radically, he just was weird looking.

Later Taylor agreed that the guy was kind of scary looking, but all she really remembered was that some guy performed magic and gave her a story she'll never forget. How about that for a way to bring someone to Christ?

Today's passage speaks to exactly this. We may see things in the world which are really, really weird. Honestly, we may see things which completely put us off. Regardless of how we look or how we act against the norm, when we offer our bodies to Christ He will use them. He'll use them in amazing ways to perform miracles.

As for me, maybe I should learn magic :)


Friday, July 15, 2005


It's been a long time since I've updated. And this one isn't exactly an update. But one of the youth in youth group took this survey and it's the first one I find interesting (probably because I really like the Myers Briggs results). So, here are my responses which seem pretty close to the way I am.

Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||||||||||||| 63%
Stability |||||||||||||||| 63%
Orderliness |||||| 30%
Altruism |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Interdependence |||||||||||||| 56%
Intellectual |||||||||||||||| 70%
Mystical |||||||||||||||| 63%
Artistic |||||| 23%
Religious |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Hedonism || 10%
Materialism |||||||||||| 43%
Narcissism |||||||||||||||| 70%
Adventurousness |||||||||| 36%
Work ethic |||||||||||| 50%
Self absorbed |||||||||||| 43%
Conflict seeking |||||||||||| 43%
Need to dominate |||| 16%
Romantic |||||||||| 36%
Avoidant |||| 16%
Anti-authority |||||||||||| 43%
Wealth |||||||||||| 43%
Dependency |||||||||||| 43%
Change averse |||||||||| 36%
Cautiousness |||||||||||||||| 63%
Individuality |||||||||||||||| 63%
Sexuality |||||| 30%
Peter pan complex |||||| 30%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Physical Fitness |||||||||||| 44%
Histrionic |||||| 23%
Paranoia |||||| 23%
Vanity |||||| 23%
Hypersensitivity |||||||||||| 50%
Female cliche |||||||||||| 50%
Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality tests by

Stability results were moderately high which suggests you are relaxed, calm, secure, and optimistic.

Orderliness results were low which suggests you are overly flexible, improvised, and fun seeking at the expense too often of reliability, work ethic, and long term accomplishment.

Extraversion results were moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly talkative, outgoing, sociable and interacting at the expense of developing your own individual interests and internally based identity.

trait snapshot:
messy, disorganized, social, tough, outgoing, rarely worries, self revealing, open, risk taker, likes the unknown, likes large parties, makes friends easily, likes to stand out, likes to make fun of people, reckless, optimistic, positive, strong, does not like to be alone, ambivalent about chaos, abstract, impractical, not good at saving money, fearless, trusting, thrill seeker, not rule conscious, enjoys leadership, strange, loves food, abstract, rarely irritated, anti-authority, attracted to the counter culture


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