Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday Setlist 12-14-08

This entry is a part of “Sunday Setlists

Here's the set list for the 14th, then some notes...
Orchestra Prelude: O Come All Ye Faithful (Hymn)
Announcements
Lighting of The Advent Candle: Student Minister's Family
Joy To The World (Hymn)
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Hymn) - See Notes Below!
Welcome / Fellowship
The First Noel (Hymn)
You Are My King/Amazing Love (Chorus)
Offertory Prayer
Choir Special: “Christmas Angels" (From Christmas Musical Joy Joy Joy)
Transitional Chorus: O Come All Ye Faithful (Hymn)
Message: Bro. Steve - The Gift of Joy (Matthew 2:1-12).
Invitation:I Have Decided To Follow Jesus (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: Go, Tell It On The Mountain (Hymn)

Now the notes..
As you can see it was very heavy with Christmas music that morning.
I was also very distracted that morning. That evening we were presenting our CHristmas musical for this year "Joy Joy Joy". It was the largest production I'd directed in a couple years. 50 voice choir, 30 piece orchstra, drama, ballet , narrators, theatrical lighting. That morning I was definately more focused on that evening and I'm afraid the service suffered in some ways because of it.

First, O Come, O Come Emmnuel.. Where do I begin. In almost 5 years of leading worship at Westwood I don't recall ever having such a train wreck in a song. I was so looking forward to singing this one. It's such a well written and worshipful song. I knew something was wrong when I intro'd it. I had planned to say something moving and inspriing about what it's like to have no hope, then to find out that hope is here. Much like this song does. In the verse, praying for God to rescue Israel ( or us to make it more personal) then rejoicing in the Chorus because Christ has come and is available to all. Instead I think I sounded like a drunk monkey and said something that barely made any sense and definately didn't lead anyone to have any greater understanding of the song or the Savior. It probably would have been just as worshipful if I'd have said "Let's all turn in our hymnals to page # so and so and sing ..." (The worst transition ever used in worship.)
Sadly, it only got worse from there.
We had a powerpoint glitch. We run two different media presentations in our service. The choir and stage folks see the powerpoint which has notes about repeats and key changes etc. While the congregation sees "media shout" with video backgrounds. Unfortunately my miscommunication caused the different presentations to show two different verses on the last verse. As we started the verSE I realized quickly that the stage and congregation were singing two different verses. So I did what I hate doing... I turned around to look at the screens behind me. My folks running the media presentations realized the problem too and both went to black screens. That just left everyone looking at each other and going "huh?". I started laughing as did many others so we just brought the song to a halt. I shared with everyone that I didn't mind when things like that happen because it puts a smile on everyone's face. While that is not an untrue statement, I really do mind when that happens. I hate to be the cause of someone being distracted during worship. (and, Jamie, it was my fault, not yours, but thanks.) We recovered later in the service, but it was definately not pretty for a minute there. I did find it funny that one of may favorite worship blogs had on entry on this "train wreck" topic that same week. It's worth checking out here.

The only other note I have about the service was the transition from The First Noel into You Are My King. We did them in the same key so we jumped right from "Born is the King of Israel" to the bridge "You Are my King". It was a nice transition that led well into us singing the entire song "I'm forgiven because you were forsaken..." .

Definately a low and high point to this service.

Sunday Setlist 12-07-08

Well, It's been a while since I've blogged and people are starting to give me a hard time about it. So I thought I'd go back and catch up on a few things. First a look at the planned set list from that morning, then a little background on the events of that weekend and how that list changed...
The Plan...
Prelude: Orchestra – Angels From The Realms Of Glory (Hymn)
Announcements
Lighting of the Advent Candle...Church Administrators family.
Angels From The Realms Of Glory (Hymn)
How Great Our Joy (Hymn)
That’s Why We Praise Him (Walker)
Welcome / Fellowship
My Savior, My God (Shust)
Good Christian Men Rejoice (Hymn)
Angels We Have Heard On High (Hymn)
Offertory Prayer - Deacon
Choir Special: Wonderful (From upcoming Christmas musical Joy Joy Joy)
Message Bro. Steve:
Invitation: Softly & Tenderly (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: Joy To The World (Hymn)


Now some details..
The weekend of December 7th was very interesting. I was called Thursday at work and was told that my mother in law had a stomach virus and that it was going to be easiest on everyone if I would stay home on Friday and keep the boys. Now I don't mean just my two. I was needed to keep my sons Ethan(4) & Gavin(2) and their cousins Will(4) and Nicholas(3). Did you count those? 4 kids under all under the age of 4. I gotta admit, it was a lot of fun. Sure I'm not great with keeping the house clean and watching them at the same time and meal times were interesting to say the least. But we had a good time.
Then Friday afternoon, Kristi came hom early from work sick with a stomach virus. Oh No! I really didn't need to be in a sick house. Our Christmas musical was the following weekend and I didn't have time to get sick. Sadly, I couldn't avoid it. Sunday morning at 2am I got sick too. Immediately my thoughts went to the church service for the next morning. What was I to do? I'm fully aware that things can go on fine without me at church, but it's definitely a bit of a hassle on everyone when plans have to change with such little notice. So the next morning at 7am I called my go to guy for such help, Ralph Houk. Ralph has way more experience than I do leading choirs and leading traditional worship. He has a vast library of songs in his head. He's probably forgotten more hymns that I'll even learn. When I called him that morning he immediately knew that something was wrong. I told him I was sick and without hesitation he agreed to lead. I told him there were a couple of newer songs planned and he said he'd figure something out. I told him to feel free to cut them if necessary. Apparently, the cuts were necessary. That morning during rehearsal they attempted those songs (Thats Why we praise Him & My Savior, My God) and I've been told my numerous folks that they both were a train wreck. So they were both cut. I was told afterward that the service as a whole went well. But those same people that said that asked me "Why didn't we worship this morning? We only did Christmas songs." I guess that answered my question from a few weeks back about how worshipful Christmas songs are. For these few folks at least the answer is "not very."

I'm thankful for all the folks at Westwood who are willing to step up and do what is needed when it is necessary.

This entry is part of the blog carnical hosted at Fred McKinnon's website. I encourage you to check out other worship leaders blogs and feel free to jump in and make notes about the service you attended Sunday. It's for all worshippers.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Oh The Times They Are A Changin' ?

I'm so confused.

What year are we in right now?

Almost 2009?

Are you sure?  

 

Unleaded gasoline was only $1.39 in Sumiton, AL this morning.

The toy stores shelves are covered with Star Wars, Transformers, & G.I. Joes

Knight Rider & 90210 are new shows this season on TV. (Although, I'm not sure if anyone is watching. I'm not. I mean, how can you have Knight Rider without The Hoff? Come on!)

 

I'm gonna go ahead and buy me some parachute pants. I know they'll be coming around again soon too.


Thursday, December 4, 2008

"Microsoft paint" bored


Have you ever been really bored. I mean like reaaaallly bored and you couldn't do much about it. I'm at work. Things are slow due to the economy. All of my files are up to date. All of my work is done. And the phone isn't ringing with any new orders or customer questions. My web use is very limited as is my phone usage. So I've resorted to playing with microsoft paint. Wow! I mean how bored is that? That's pretty bad. Here's my first attempt at MS paint art. Feel free to use it as a desktop background. I know you'll want to.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Newbie Question

I still consider myself a newbie at blogging. So I have a question for all of you...

What is the appropriate way to respond to a comment someone has placed on your blog?
Do you:
1.) simply comment on you own blog as well and assume they've checked the box to received e-mail replys.
Or
2.) Go to their most recent blog and reply to their comment on their blog?

I've seen it done both ways.
Which should I do?

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Sunday Setlist 11-30-08

First, I recommend you go checkout this website. I've really enjoyed viewing other worship leader's blogs and seeing what's happening in other churches on Sundays.

Now, here's how our Sunday went...

Prelude: Orchestra - Joy To The World (Hymn)
Announcements

Lighting of the Advent Candle.... Stinson Family
Each Sunday from now until Christmas Eve we'll be lighting an advent candle and considering the great gifts that God has given us: Mercy, Peace, Love, etc.
We first experimented with this in our Christmas Eve service last year and decided to expand it to use throughout this Chirstmas season. So far, most people have commented on my children and how cute they were. (pics to come later) Hopefully, as the month progresses we'll be able to focus more on the subject of the day.


Lord, Have Mercy (Michael W. Smith version) chorus only
What Child Is This? (Hymn)

Welcome / Fellowship

Mighty To Save (Hillsong)
Introduced this song today for the first time. I was familiar with it but hadn't really considered using it in corporate worship until I saw so many others at Fred's website using it on a regular basis. Everyone seemed to enjoy it and took to it quickly. We'll definitely see it again.
O Come All Ye Faithful (Hymn)

Choir Special: Offering w/ His Glorious Name (From upcoming Christmas musical "Joy Joy Joy")
Message Bro. Steve: Gift of Gifts-Mercy, Luke 1:26-38, 46-55
Invitation: Just As I Am (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: Joy To The World (Hymn)

As you can see we started Christmas music today. I always find it a challenge to incorporate in traditional Christmas songs into the worship service. So many of them simply tell a part of the nativity story from one person's perspective (angels, wise men, etc.) I'm curious what you think. Should traditional carols be included or would it be better to leave them out and focus more on more worshipful songs?

And I'm wondering, How was your Sunday?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday Setlist 11/23/08 - Thanksgiving



This blog is part of the “Sunday Set lists” blog carnival hosted here. You should check it out.

We had a great day of worship Sunday at Westwood.

Sunday morning we tried something a little different. I began the service by talking about how so often we come in and view the worship service as a show. We sit in the congregation, sing a few songs, but mostly watch what is going on on the stage. I then encouraged everyone to find new ways to worship that day. Rather than just standing there and singing you could walk across the room and tell someone why you’re thankful for them. Or you might want to gather with folks in prayer and give God thanks for something in particular. We even put a large dry erase board at the front of the sanctuary and invited everyone to come write on the board what they are thankful for. So instead of doing two separate songs sets broken up by a welcome time from the pastor and a “hand shaking/hug fellowship time” we simply encouraged them to allow the music coming from the stage to be background music to the worship they were doing as they talked with each other and utilized the dry erase board. It went great.

Here’s how it was laid out…

Prelude: Orchestra - Count Your Blessings (Hymn)
Call To Worship: Choir Special– Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Hymn)
w/ key change and big choral ending. It really helped set the tone for the service.

Welcome / Explanation of worship today and purpose of white board.

Blessed Be Your Name (Redman)“Every blessing your pour out I’ll turn back to praise.” Love it!
Thankful Medley (Hymn) Old School praise all with an offbeat kick, flowing one into the next He Has Made Me Glad, We Bring The Sacrifice Of Praise, This Is The Day
My Savior, My God (Shust)
Introduce this song to the congregation of the first time. They seemed to really respond to it.
The Wonderful Cross (Tomlin)
Everyone seemed to be back in their seats by the time this song started. Then they really sang out. It was a great way to conclude the worship that morning.

Offertory Prayer - Deacon

Solo: Patrick Galloway – Thankful (Josh Grobin) We changes the words of slightly. Rather than singing “you should find your truth” we decided there was only one truth and that we should all find the truth. Patrick did a great job with this song.

Message: Bro. Steve “Forever Grateful” (2 Corinthians 9:6-15)
Theme: Gratitude is an attitude that leads to action
Invitation: I Surrender All (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: This Is The Day (Hymn)

Everything went great. I was especially pleased with how many folks responded to the more active worship format. Even last night people were still talking about how much they enjoyed it. I will definitely be looking for other ways to worship corporately without involving singing.

I think it’s only fair to say though, that not everyone thought it was as meaningful as I did. When I examined the board at the end of the service there were at least a couple people who were thankful for some surprising things. Among them: Wal-mart and opposable thumbs. Ya gotta love the youth.


Sunday night was just as awesome. We hosted the community wide thanksgiving service this year. Numerous churches from the area gathered together for a night of worship. I had the awesome opportunity to lead a community choir. It was approximately 50 voices strong. Seeing people worship in more active ways is always very encouraging as a worship leader. Typically our faith family is pretty reserved, we get a few raised hands in worship but basically our folks are very reserved in their worship. Last night was very different, shouting, raised hands, crying, swaying. It was awesome, Not to mention there were probably 500 people there and the sound of the voices raised in worship was amazing. I'm pretty sure I'm becoming more "Bapti-costal" every year. Here’s the list…


Pre-service video countdown
Call To worship: Westwood Ballet piece
Welcome: Bro. Steve
Prayer: Rev Rachael Martin - Church Of The Reconciler
Worthy Is The Lamb (Zcshech)
How Great Is Our God (Tomlin)
How Great Thou Art (Hymn) chorus only

Responsive Reading: Matt Hill, First Priority area minister

Power In His Blood Medley (Hymn)
There is Power In The Blood / Are You Washed In The Blood / Glory To His Name
Give Thanks (Hymn)
My Tribute (Crouch) It was great hearing the crowd sing out this great chorus “To God Be the Glory for the things He has done.”


Offertory prayer - Rev. Rick Cooper, the President of West 78 Ministry

Community Choir: “Total Praise” (Brooklyn Tabernacle version) This was awesome!!!

Message: Rev. James Ephraim, First United Presbyterian Church of Forestdale
Closing Song of celebration: Days Of Elijah (Mark)
It was truly an awesome day of worship. I’m thankful I was able to be a part of it all. I’m so unworthy.

How was your Sunday?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Train night


Today turned out way better than I expected.
I started the day dreading 2 things...Shopping for clothes for the boys and going to see twilight. Maybe dreading is too strong a word for the way I felt about the movie. I was looking forward to having a "date night" with Kristi and taking her to see a movie she cared about. (She's read all 4 books in the past two weeks.) I just didn't care any about this movie.

We realized this morning that our thoughts on child care weren't going to plan out so it was decided that Kasey (the sister-in-law) could go with Kristi to see twilight in my place.

So fortunately I got to go home and keep the boys all afternoon. We decided early that tonight would be "Train Night". Gavin's been showing a lot of interest in Ethan's old Thomas trains recently so we decided to get them all out and see what we could do with them. We had so much fun we just decided to leave them up so they could play with it for the the next few days. The pic here is of the finished product. The is every piece of track we own except for 3, we just couldn't find a way to make them fit. In case I haven't mentioned it recently, I love my boys. We had a blast.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Adults at play

I'll sometimes walk @ a local park during lunch. Today i got to watch 2 adult men drive a gocart just for fun. The best part...watching 2 adult men push their ride home when they ran out of gas. Lol

Childhood

Sometimes I miss my childhood. But I wouldn't trade watching my boys grow up to go back. Being a dad is the coolest thing ever.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Awesome


Confession time

Things are slow at work today. I've had a lot of time to think about my life. This thought process has led me to realize some things I've done that I'm not exactly proud of (or have been trying to hide.) So, just to get it off my chest, here's a list of 5 confessions…

1.) Phrases like "Autobots, Roll Out!" and "Yo Joe!" still make me smile.
2.) I have seen every episode of the last 2 seasons of "So You think you can dance".
3.) I was in my 20's before I saw the original Star Wars Trilogy in it's entirety.
4.) Every time I go to wal-mart, I walk through the toy section. It has nothing to do with my boys.
5.) Not only did I see "From Justin To Kelly" in the theaters, there is also a DVD copy of it in my house.

Ugh, that last one hurts.

What do you need to confess?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

5 things

Just because I'm bored, here's a list of 5 things that have annoyed me today….

1.)The layout of Target in Fultondale– When your store is large, doesn't it make more sense to put the front doors in the middle of the front of the store rather than on one end. If you park on the far end of the parking lot, and have to go to a section in the back corner of the store, that is quite a hike. I don't mind the hike, it just seems so unnecessary.
2.)The way William Shatner says "Birmingum" rather than "Birmingham" in a local law office radio commercial. Besides, why is William Shatner doing radio commercials for a local law office?!?
3.)Blue Ray DVD's – Supposedly they can hold a ton more info than a regular DVD. Why then do we still need 2 & 3 disc special editions of movies? It seems to me you could get it all on one disc. (But maybe my frustration is really due to the fact that I can't afford Blue Ray DVDs, a Blue Ray player, or even an HD tv to enjoy them on.)
4.)The human body, specifically mine – How come I can eat the same thing two days in a row, exercise the same two days in a row, but I won't loose the same amount of weight both days? What's up with that?
5.)Christmas shopping – due to budget restrictions in the Stinson household, I'm trying to be a bargain shopper this year. Mostly through examining purchasing items in store vs. online and comparing the two. What has really surprised me is how different some stores will charge for items. Example: It appears that for most items Target charges suggested retail price, while wal-mart will charge much less than that. But Target is carrying more of the items my boys want. Ugh, it's all so annoying. Today I was standing in the aisle at Target looking at prices online on my cell phone to see if I could save a buck or two. The whole process is so annoying. In the end I will probably have saved a total of $20 by doing all this extra work. Is it worth it? Probably not. If any of you are trying to figure out what to get me for Christmas, feel free to give $20 so I can save it for next Christmas and not go through all this headache . (Or even better see #3 for some ideas.)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Builder Article - Dec 2008

Each month we mail out a church newsletter called "The Builder".
Here's my article for December..

I’ve been asking God to answer a question for me recently. What is my job here at Westwood? That may seem like a question that is easily answered. My job title says I’m the “Minister of Music & Worship Arts.” What does that mean exactly? It sure sounds fancy, doesn’t it? It’s interesting to see the titles that churches place on staff members that are in my same position. Here’s a few of the titles I’ve seen in recent weeks... Minister of Music, Music Minister, Minister of Worship, Worship Leader, and even Lead Worshipper. But what do all of those really mean? Some might say that the person in my position is responsible for picking and leading the songs used in worship. God has been reminding me recently that it’s so much more than that. He’s been showing me that I’m called to draw attention to him and help others see reasons that He is worthy of praise and worship. But, I’ve also realized, aren’t all Christians called to do this? Isn’t this something we can all do everyday in our own lives? While we may not all be leading people in singing songs everywhere we go, we can all give God glory in our conversations and actions outside of our church walls. I’ve got a challenge for you this Christmas season. We all get real busy with parties and family gatherings. I challenge you to be a worship leader at each of the gatherings you go to. Don’t worry, I’m not asking you lo lead any singing. (Although I’m sure an acapella version of “O Holy Night” from you would be enjoyed by all.) I’m simply challenging you to find a way to praise God in your conversations with people at these events. I think you’ll find if you’re willing to mention God a little more often in your conversations, it becomes much easier to talk with those same people about his great gift to us, the gift of everlasting life through His son, Jesus. We may not all be called to lead singing, but I have no doubt we’re all called to lead others to worship Him.

In closing, I guess it’s time to consider a different question for next month that has come to mind. If Sunday school teachers teach, and preachers preach, what do ministers of music do? “Minist”?

Fa, La-La-La-La , La-La-La-La.
Shawn

On second thought....

Maybe Obama won't be as bad as I originally thought.
I just read the following...

From the AP: "NEW YORK – It's not exactly at the top of his agenda, but President-elect Barack Obama says there should be a college football playoff to determine a national champion. In fact, he knows exactly what he wants — an eight-team playoff.

In an interview with "60 Minutes," Obama addresses a subject college football fans have debated for many years, and says he will use his influence to create such a system.

"It would add three extra weeks to the season," he said. "So, I'm going to throw my weight around a little bit. I think it's the right thing to do."

You can see the entire article here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Going Down

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

Sunday Setlist 11/16/08

This blog is part of the “Sunday Set lists” blog carnival hosted here.

Here's the setlist for our service today.


Walk-In Music: Power In The Blood (Hymn arrangement)
Did this one with a southern kick. The folks commented more on this song than any other when the service was over and it was just instrumental. I've learned recently that our folks really enjoy this type of off beat rhythm on older songs.

Announcements - I did announcements and invited Joseph (our student minister)to come share something about our church's involvement in "Operation Christmas Child". He began looking all over the stage and said he was looking for a big box. He asked the crowd if they'd seen it, then quickly the lights went down, the theme from "2001 a space Odyssey" began to play, and a spotlight lit a portion of our ceiling where a large gift box was slowly being lowered down toward the stage. I'm not sure it translates well here, but it was very funny. An interesting way to bring attention to that ministry for sure. I even think it was better than last year. Last year, I wheeled in a big gift box on a cart, talked about OCC, and when I was done I tapped the box and said "OK, you can go now." The box began to rattle then it stood up and walked out. (Our student ministry intern was inside of it the whole time.) Funny stuff. Anyway, I digress..
Then we began to worship.

1st Set:
Holy, Holy, Holy (Hymn Arrangement)
Hear Our Praises (Reuben Morgan) w/ "Hallelujah" bridge.
First time we've done this bridge. It went well.

Welcome / Fellowship

2nd Set
Blessed Assurance (Hymn Arrangement)
Testimony - Millie Caffee, a cancer survivor, shared a simple testimony of what she is thankful for. I totally expected her to focus on her health and her battle with cancer, but instead she briefly mentioned that like it was no big deal and got choked up when she said "but what I'm really thankful for is Jesus." She mentioned his love for her and how amazing and surprising it is that he would want to spend eternity with her. I was incredibly moving. It set the tone for the next song. I really wish I would have had her share earlier in the service. It was moving.
Give Me Jesus (Traditional) Fernando Ortega version.
First time we've ever done this song. It went very well.

Offertory Prayer

Choir Special: Refresh My Heart (Geoff Bullock)The choir sounded great on this one. Sometimes a repetitive song is very worshipful and the group singing it seems to worship more with every repeat. Unfortunately this one just seemed repetitive. But, maybe it was just me.

Transitional Chorus: Give Me Jesus (Traditional) 1st V, and chorus
Message: Bro. Steve
Invitation: I Surrender All (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: Doxology (Hymn)


To end this I'd like to ask a question..
I'm trying to come up with some ways to lead a large group in worship without using any music. Any ideas? I've got something we're going to do next Sunday that I think will go great. I'll share more about it next week. But for now, how would you lead a large congreagtion to worship in a way that does not involved music or singing? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Mmmmmm, Lunch!

How to gain weight....

I was so tempted today at lunch to get a burger. Not like "Man, a burger would be nice" but more like.. "UGH, MUST HAVE BURGER!!!" But, alas I did not fall to temptation. I had a grilled chicken salad. I've been trying this week to get back on a good habit of losing lbs, not just maintaining. It hasn't been easy. In June I started eating better and really kicked it into high gear in July with the "fat-smash diet" and a regular workout program. I've stuck with the workout program since then and have been eating much better, but in recent months I've only been maintaining weight. I haven't been disciplined enough to really loose much more. So here I am today 39.7 lbs lighter than I was in May. Only 10.3 lbs to go to hit my secondary goal of losing 50 lbs by Christmas. (My first goal was simply to get out of the 300's.) Can I loose another 10 lbs in 6 weeks? I'm sure gonna try.

Super Mario

So I've learned how to blog from my phone. Now I'm just goofing off. Here's a pic of me from Halloween. "It's-a me, Mario!"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

My Favorite Cell Phone Pic

This is a test. I'm blogging from my phone. Here's a pic of me & Gavin from a few months ago.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Monday, November 10, 2008

Bummer!

I just read this article.
Within it I learned that the wonderful television show "Lost" is moving back to Wednesday nights this season (beginning January 21st). I hate it when they put good shows on Wednesday nights. Don't they know I have choir rehearsal and I workout (stop laughing) on Wednesdays? Oh well, I probably would have DVR'd it anyway.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Setlist 11/09/08

This blog is part of the “Sunday Set lists” blog carnival hosted here.
I'm thankful for Fred's blog because it has helped open my eyes to new worship music and some interesting things worship leaders are doing across the country. Today we did "God Of This City" for the first time. I'd heard it before but not thought much of it. I reconsidered after seeing so many use it in their services on Fred's website. Thanks guys. Great song.

We had a good day today. It started off Rocky, but all worked out well. When I arrived at rehearsal I learned that we had an issue with our sheet music. We recently purchased the new Baptist Hymnal from Lifeway and had not yet started using the orchestration from it. We had planned on utilizing the new orchestration next week, but our orchestra director jumped the gun a week early, so we had a different arrangement for all songs being played by the rhythm section and the orchestra. It was almost a train wreck. (These are the types of problems you get to deal with when you lead worship utilizing full rhythm section and orchestra. No printing guitar chords off the Internet for us.) It took us about 10 minutes to get the problem corrected and rehearsal continued as normal. I was a little shaken by all these problems, but i knew the day was going to be great so I tried not to let it get to me.

Today was our Community Reach Out day. Following the AM service approx 100 people joined together, ate lunch, then went to surrounding communities inviting people to church. It really was a great day. I got to spend an an hour or so with Bro. Steve (my pastor) and his wife Heather. We laughed a lot. ("Hello, My name is Joe. I'm from the Church of the Short Term Memory. I just stopped by today to say... Hello, May name is Joe...." Maybe you had to be there.)

Anyway, the AM worship was focused on our God, his greatness, and our willingness to share his love. Here it is..

______________________________________________________________
- Orchestral Prelude: How Great Thou Art (Hymn Arrangement)
- Announcements w/ Veterans day recognition. - This year we ran a 3 minute video featuring pics of our veterans in uniform from years past. Many have already told me how much it meant to them. I'm glad we did it that way this year. It's a good, quick, way to acknowledge their sacrifice without taking up too much time designated for worship of our creator.
* In Christ Alone (My Hope Is Found)(Getty/Townend)
- Pastor's Welcome / Fellowship
* Shout To The North (Smith) First time I've EVER lead this song. I've never liked it because it sounds like an Irish drinking song. "Shout to the North and the South, Arrgh.!" I shared this from stage, got a laugh, and then shared how this song came to mind when thinking about us proclaiming the good new of Christ. It went well. It's always interesting to see how an old song to me (copyright 1995) can be new to so many in our congregation.
*How Great Is Our God w/ How Great Thou Art (Tomlin)
- Offertory Prayer - Deacon
- Choir Special - God Of The City (Tomlin) Taught this new song to the congregation this week. It went well. Being "reach out" Sunday it fit perfectly. I had Tammy take some pics for me of our city, which Danny used to make a video to play behind the lyrics in media shout. It looked great. I could see the reaction on some faces as they saw the pics and sang the chorus. It was very moving for some. I do wish the chorus wasn't so high. But it still worked
- Message - Bro. Steve
- Invitation - Where ever He leads I'll go. (Hymn arrangement)
- Closing Chorus - God Of The City (Tomlin) verse and chorus 1x only.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sunday Setlist 11/02/08

What a day we had Sunday! It was great.

First a quick set list, then some more indepth notes for those who care.


---------------------------------------

Orchestral Prelude: Only Trust Him (Hymn Arrangement)

Announcements

*Here I Am To Worship (Tim Hughes)
*He Is Exalted (Twila Paris / Shane & Shane version)
*My Life Is In You, Lord (Daniel Gardner)

Welcome / Fellowship

*Standing On The Promises (Hymn Arrangement, hoe-down style)

Testimony: “I Am Thankful For…” Debbie Marshall

*Worthy Is The Lamb (Darlene Zschech)

Offertory Prayer: Deacon

*Choir Special: I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me / from the musical Evidence Of Grace)

*Transitional Chorus: Thank You Lord (Seth Sykes)

Message: Bro. Steve

*Invitation: Change My Heart, Oh God (Hymn Arrangement)

*Closing Chorus: How Great Thou Art (Hymn arrangement)



Now the more in depth look:

Sunday began with announcements as usual. One of the announcements I had to make was reminding everyone of the “reach-out” event we have coming upon Nov 9th. The entire church is encouraged to have lunch together then go out and knock on every door in a specific community to come worship with us. This really isn’t an original idea, but it’s something we haven’t done in years, if ever. For at least 3 years the only organized outreach we’ve had has been a dedicated group of senior adults who gather each Tuesday evening to go out and visit those who visited our church Sunday. I have to say I am so thankful for this dedicated group. They are willing to do what so many of us, (myself included) say we don’t have time for. This special event hopefully will encourage everyone to get more involved in outreach, to be more aware of opportunities that present themselves to invite someone to church or even better, tell someone about Jesus Christ.

Sunday, I stopped making planned announcements for a few minutes and was just “for reals” for a few minutes. Kristi (my lovely wife) says I think through things to much, and she may be right. Typically anything I say from the stage has been carefully thought out. Sunday I just went “off the cuff” and shared that I hoped everyone would come and we could give a personal invitation to everyone who lived in the area we’re reaching out to next weekend. I really think if we would be more concerned about what goes on outside of our church building we’d see a change in the people and the amount of people inside our building. As I said Sunday ..”Nothing changes if nothing changes.”. This time of sharing from the heart just sort of opened my heart to what God was saying to me that day. I worshipped in a way Sunday that I haven’t in a long time. I’m talking about: eyes closed, hands raised, heart open, everyone else melts away, it’s just me and God…worship. I might not have been a great worship leader Sunday for our church family, because I wasn’t paying attention to them, but I know I had an encounter with my Father when I worshipped Him Sunday. Praise God.


From the set list above here are just a few notes..

“My Life is In You”… I decided to include this simply because it was a vertical, celebration song and I thought we needed something a little more upbeat in the first set. Turns out, I should have left it off. Musically it was fine, but the transition from the mellow version of “He is Exalted” into this was a little rocky. Plus, while the lyrics themselves are great, I flashback to a commercial for a “time life” worship CD I saw once. Everyone else must too, because no one else seemed to get much out of it. It was filler. Filler has to go.


“Standing On The Promises”.. our church is made up of 50% Senior adults. When we do these older hymns with a southern (or Pentecostal) kick everyone seems to enjoy it. The lyrics are biblically sound, and the music makes you smile. What a great combo. Great celebration “By the living word of God I shall prevail.” Good stuff.


“Worthy Is The Lamb” Great song that is losing it’s effectiveness with our folks. The first 4 or 5 times we did this song in the past it seemed to really resonate with everyone. Not so much now. Might be time to retire it for a while. Hmmm?


Choir Song: “I Can Only Imagine” – honestly I chose this song because it was one our choir knew well and we could pull it off without much practice on it. (We’re in the middle of working on a Christmas musical so some shortcuts are taken where possible.) We did the version from the musical “Evidence Of Grace”. It has the solo that everyone knows with the choir backup like an angelic chorus singing “Hallelujah, Praise the Great I AM.” I like this version of this song, but honestly, I’m kind of over it. You know, tired of this song and ready for it to be put to rest… or at least I thought I was. As I sang the solo on this song I felt an overwhelming desire to put my words into action. Without any thought, as I sang “or to my knees will I fall.” I did just that. I was bowing on the floor. From that point to the end of the song was a blur. I just closed my eyes, sang, and thanked God for the relationship He’s allowed me to have with Him. I’m so thankful that God, the creator of all things, loves me enough that He does so much for me and allows me to do some stuff for him.

That evening, a few people approached me and said they could tell there was a point when I stopped singing and started worshiping. They said they were led to worship by my actions. I’m humbled by that. I’m not sure exactly how, but I think God may be pushing our worship, or at least mine, to another level. I can’t wait to see what’s in store.


This blog is part of the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival hosted at FredMcKinnon.Com. Check it out here.

Monday, October 27, 2008

ummm...yeah... it's like... hmmm?

I've just watched this video and I'm absolutely speechless.
I dare you to watch all 10 minutes of it.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sunday Setlist

This blog is part of the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival hosted at FredMcKinnon.Com. Check it out here.

Our services today was interesting, I'll highlight some good and not as good moments...
Orchestral Prelude: Great Is Thy Faithfulness (Hymn arrangement) I wasn't directing this, or even in the room. For some reason the orchestra stopped playing after the verse. I'm not sure why. It probably had something to do with the fact that we didn't rehearse it before hand and they weren't sure why I wasn't in the room yet. It wasn't an unnatural place to stop, it was just unexpected.

Announcements: Here why I wasn't in the room yet. I mentioned last week that I try to keep this part of the service interesting. I entered the service wearing a "Storm Trooper" helmet, with the Star Wars Theme playing loudly over the system. This week we have our fall festival and I wore it to remind everyone to come, be involved and wear a costume if they really want to have a good time. It definitely got a laugh and to put everyone at ease for the service. I think my moment was when I truly thought about how I must look with it on and said "You act like you've never seen a storm trooper in a sweater vest before." Man, I'm such a nerd. So anyway, somehow I transitioned from that to read a portion of Hebrews 10:22-26, and prepared to draw near to God through our worship and fellowship.

*I Am Thine, O Lord (Fanny Crosby, Hymn Arrangement)
*Wonderful Merciful Savior (Dawn Rodgers & Eric Wyse)
Great older chorus, that I've recently rediscovered (thanks to other worship leaders blogs.) We sang it a month or so ago and it was new to many in our church. They are still responding well to it.

Welcome / Fellowship

*That’s Why We Praise Him (Tommy Walker)
Another older chorus, that's still new to many in our church. This is only the 2nd time we've done it in a year. The bridge (Halle, hallelujah)received a better response that I had planned for, looking back I wish we had sung that a few more times. I could tell singing this really was beginning to resonate with a few people, but I let the knowledge that so many of our members are conscience of songs that seem to repetitive, so I cut it short. Hindsight, yes, it's still 20/20.
*Who Can Satisfy (Jernigan)Octavo version with lots of key changes
Went straight from previous song into this one, focusing on the "worship this King" line. This is a Westwood favorite. It always gets our folks focused on God's Glory, or at least it gets them emotionally charged. Songs with lots of key changes have a way of doing that. Either way, it went well.

Offertory Prayer - I goofed. I didn't see any deacons coming to do the prayer, so I just did it myself. I completely forgot that our Drummer was supposed to handle it. I should have looked at my notes. Oops.

*Choir Special: “Your Grace Still Amazes Me” (Shawn Craig, Connie Harrington) Arrangement from musical "Evidence of Grace". In spite of many errors in rehearsal due to an edit of the music, it went without a hitch. Great duet with choir backup. It was moving, and brought people to their feet in praise. Great job by Richard Cranford & Heather Potts as always.

*Take My Life(Scott Underwood)
Oldie but a goodie that we haven't done in years. Fit in well with Steve's message of being humbled before being transformed. Sang verses Holiness & Brokenness.

Message: Bro. Steve “Healing the Heart: Jacob & Esau (Gen 32:3-16, 22-30, 33:1-4) Theme: God Humbles us before He transforms Us

Invitation: *Take My Life(Scott Underwood)
Closing Chorus: *Victory In Jesus (Eugene Bartlett)
Chorus only, closing celebration song. Very southern, very upbeat. Fun.


Over all, a good service without any major technical or musical hiccups. Facial expressions from some of our more senior members leads me to think they would have enjoyed more hymns, or songs they were more familiar with. But for the majority, I believe this service was helpful in leading our church family members to worship our Father.

Movie Review: The Incredible Hulk = BUY IT!

This is the second movie review I've done on this blog, so I guess I should come up with a system for rating.
From now on, here's my system..
"Buy it" = Great, spend $ on this movie and watch it often.
"Rent It" = Good, spend $ on this movie, but not too much.
"Watch it" = ok, see it on TV if you have the chance, but don't spend any $ on it.
"Don't watch it" = bad, you'll regret it if you spend any $ or time watching this.
"From Justin to Kelly" = Stay away at all costs. If you watch this, not only will you want to jab your own eyes out with a shrimp fork, but your family may be punished based on the Old Testament "Sins of the Father" rule. I'm afraid your kids and grand kids might suffer if it's been discovered you watched this on purpose.



So, on with the review...
I bought The Incredible Hulk on DVD this weekend.
I stayed up until 1:30am watching it Friday night.
I should probably say, I have been a Hulk fan since I was a kid.
I grew up watching the TV show and have even purchased a comic book or two in more recent years.(I think "Graphic Novel" is the proper term now.)

I think my fascination with the character began when I was 4 or 5. I can remember going to VBS at Wilkes Baptist church and one of the college guys dressed up like the Hulk and came to visit our class. I assume he was there to say something about God being stronger than a superhero, or maybe something about the drawbacks of letting our anger control us. Sadly, I don't remember why he was there. I just remember how big he was. How green he was. How real he was. This guy had completely painted his body and hair green and was wearing torn clothes. To me, he was the real Hulk. From then on, I don't think I missed an episode of that TV show until it was cancelled in 1982. That was a sad day for this 7 year old.

Anyway, this new movie was great. It was what I wish Ang Lee's Hulk (2003) should have been. It followed the TV show much more, where Banner is a lone scientist, on the running trying to learn to control his anger, and the hulk. I especially loved the use of the theme song from the TV show and the cameos by Bill Bixby (RIP) and Lou Ferigno. I do still think that computer animation has a little further to go before it is completely believable, but this was pretty close. I definitely give this move a positive review.

Shawn's Review = BUY IT!

I gotta see this

I had a conversation with Joseph today about upcoming movies. I said that there wasn't much of anything coming out that I was interested in.
Correction, I want to see This.

This is directed by and staring Clint Eastwood.
They just don't make movies like this much anymore.
I'll probably invite my Dad. The last movie we saw at the theater together was ConAir.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Sunday Setlist

So I recently have stumbled upon some very interesting blogs from worship leaders all over the country. And I have to say, I'm loving reading them. Hearing of the struggles, stresses, pleasures, and celebrations that come with being a worship leader is so encouraging. Starting this week I'm going to blog weekly about our services at Westwood.

So.. This blog is part of the “Sunday Setlists” blog carnival hosted at FredMcKinnon.Com. You can check it out here: http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2008/10/19/sunday-setlists-13
For any who don't know, I'm the minister of music and worship arts at Westwood Baptist in Birmingham (Forestdale), AL. I call our Sunday morning worship blended, which simply means that, in terms of style, we try to balance fairly evenly between traditional hymns and contemporary choruses. We have a bunch of talented musicians at Westwood so we strive to give them all an opportunity to serve. We have a full rhythm & winds sections but no strings. We utilize a praise team and a praise and worship choir.

Here's how this past Sunday went...

Orchestral call to worship - Praise To The Lord The Almighty (Hymn arrangement)

Announcements - I get the pleasure(?) of doing the announcements every Sunday. Am I the only worship leader that has to handle this part of the service? I typically share about some events going on at the church that week that are already written about in the worship guide. But as everyone knows, no one hears about anything unless you say it from the stage. I'm not sure they listen then. But I digress. I try to keep the announcements interesting, but it's not always easy.

1st set:
* Rise Up & Praise Him (Baloche)
* Praise To The Lord The Almighty (Joachim Neander, 1680)
3 verses with key change for last verse. Talk about traditional. Great hymn with great lyrics "Let the "amen" sound from his people again".

Welcome / Fellowship: Bro. Steve - This is the welcome from our pastor, he normally shares a passage of scripture, possibly an additional announcement, a prayer request, and will lead in prayer. He always closes by leading into a typical baptist "hug and handshake" fellowship time.

2nd set:
*Blessed Be Your Name (Matt Redman)
We omitted the bridge on this one, simply because I'm not a fan of the "You give and take away portion. While it is a biblical truth about God's blessings. I don't see a point in the blatant musical U2 ripoff.
*I Give You My Heart (Reuben Morgan)

Offertory Prayer (always led by one of the deacons)

Choir: At Your Feet (Vicki Yoh'e, arrangement from the musical "Sanctuary")

Message: Bro. Steve “Healing The Heart: Leah & Rachael” (Gen 29:15-35)
Theme: Overcoming rejection; being accepted by God

Invitation: The Savior Is Waiting (Traditional Hymn Arrangement)
Closing Chorus: Rise Up & Praise Him

Monday, October 20, 2008

Kids say....

Sometimes, I'm amazed at what my kids will say.

Gavin, our 2 year old, has decided that he is not a baby any longer. Neither is he a "big boy". If you accuse him of being either he will quickly and loudly tell you "Gadin...Man!". Translated: "No, I am not a big boy. My name is Gavin and I am a man. I don't appreciate you saying otherwise." We're not sure why he's decided this all of a sudden, but it sure is funny.

This past Saturday, we all went together to eat at Ruby Tuesday's. Of course, both my boys had to get chicken fingers and french fries (I glad every restaurant serves these items or my boys would starve.) But, as an additionl bonus, Ruby Tuesday's also includes a large chocolate chip cookie with their kids meals. As we finished our meals, the cookies were finally delivered to the table. After a few minutes the waitress walked back by, and seeing chocolate all over Ethan's face she asked him "So how's the cookie?" He looked up at her with a big chocolately grin and here's what we heard " It's terrible!" But he was smiling the entire time he said it. We were all floored, why would he say that? Clearly he was loving the cookie. So still in shock, Kristi asked him "It's terrible? Why is it terrible?" He looked up at her and said "Look at it. It's real soft. It's real easy to tear."
OOOhhhh, Tear-able. We laughed for a while about that one.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

5 Reasons I Love My Wife

In no paticular order, 5 reasons I love my wife.

1.) Kristi knows every word of the original TV theme song from "Transformers". I don't mean just the "more than meets the eye part". She also knows the "Autobots wage their battle to destroy the evil forces of... The Decepticons" part.

2.) Kristi's favorite three words: "so's your mama."
I mean it. I hear that phrase from her daily. She's very creative with her use of it.
Example 1 - Shawn: This movie is dull. Kristi: So's your mama.
Example 2- Shawn: This milk is expired. Kristi: So's your mama.

3.) Kristi knows more about the original Star Wars trilogy than I do.

4.) On our first date we had a lengthy discussion of Animaniacs and the genius that is "Pinky & The Brain". We laughed a lot just talking about it.

5.) She's hot.
(Kristi adds: "So's your mama!")

Movie Review: The Love Guru

First I should say that I'm a big fan of Mike Myers. So I really wanted this movie to be great. I thought the first two Austin Powers movies were hilarious. The 3rd was a little forgetable. Unfortunately, this move was worse. There were some very funny moments, but none that were so funny that I felt the need to quote them later.
Also, maybe my sensibilities are just more aware now because I now have kids, but this movie seemed much raunchier than others he's done. My biggest complaint with this movie was that it would take a funny joke and run it into the ground, trying to re-use it again and again.

Although, I must say the scenes with Mike Myers and Verne Tryer were pretty good. My Favorite line was from the Love Guru to Mini me. "I would have invited you to this meeting, but I knew you already had a meeting planned with the Lollipop guild."

So In summary, skip it.
I'll admit that some movies I think are funny now (Anchorman, Dumb & Dumber) I didn't care for the first time I saw them. But I really don't think this will be one of those. I feel confident Mike Myers has plenty of good movies still to offer us. I read recently there are discussion of an Dr. & Scott Evil movie. I'm sure I'll have to go see that one if it happens.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Am I The Only One?

There are two things about me that drive me crazy. Not so crazy that I've done anything to change these bad habits. Just crazy enough that I thought I'd share them with you.

1.) I don't know how to go to bed like a normal person. Ever since I was a child, I liked to fall asleep. Not "go to sleep", but "fall asleep". What's the difference you may ask? Well, I'll tell you. To go to sleep means you've done so on purpose. You have walked to your bed, couch, recliner, or place of your choice with the intention of closing your eyes and going to sleep. You might even lay there for a while until sleep arives. There's not much that I can think of that's worse than laying somewhere and waiting to fall asleep. Instead... I do it this way. I like to fall asleep. That's where you continue to go about doing meaningless tasks such as watching a movie, playing a video game, or even reading a book (yes,I read! until your desire to sleep is so strong it has beaten down your desire and ability to stay awake. This usually means I will fall asleep either on the recliner or in the floor (where I usually sit when watching TV"). If I'm lucky I'll wake up a couple hrs later and shuffle my way to bed where hopefully I'll get enough sleep on a nice mattress that I won't be sore the next morning. So I usually fall asleep around 12:30, and make it to bed around 3am. Am I the only one who does this?

2.) I will do larger tasks that I don't mind doing when I'm supposed to be doing a much easier task that I don't like. Example: My office at home is usually a wreck. I don't mean like a little dusty with a couple of books stacked behind me. I mean like "little boy's bedroom" messy. As I sit here blogging there is a pile of computer cables behind my chair so big, I can't even roll this chair backward. (I'm not necessarily dirty. There's no food or dirt around. It's just very cluttered.) But I digress. I've been meaning to straighten up this office for a while now. To do so would probably take about an hour. Put books on the shelf, paperwork in the file. Computer cables in the box with my other computer stuff, and a quick vacuum (it's sad that I had to google how to spell vacuum) and everything would look fine. But, because I have no desire to clean up, I instead start straightening up then find something like a DVD in the floor and realize "you know, my DVD's should probably be alphebetical on the shelf". So now, instead of being finished an hour later, I've still got a messy office, but al least my DVD's are alphabetical. Am I the only one who does this?

I guess that's all for now. It's midnight, my eyes are starting to burn a little because I'm so tired. Am I heading to bed? Of course not. I must continue to seek entertainment. I'm about to step over the piles of junk in my office, walk to the living room, lay in the floor, and watch the new episode of "House" that I DVR'd yesterday. I'll probably be asleep by the 2nd commercial.

Monday, October 13, 2008

4 Jobs You've Had in Your Life:
YMCA Swimming lessons teacher & Lifeguard (It's true stop laughing!)
After school Daycare teacher (Believe it or not, that didn't last too long)
Movie Rental Store Clerk / Store Manager (Loved it! Would still do it if it paid more.)
Video Production Studio account manager (Cool gig, watching commercials be planned, filmed and edited. I wish I had known how to be a salesman before I took the job. It might have lasted longer. I really stunk at it.)


4 Movies You Could Watch Over and Over:
Star Wars (anyone surprised)
Tommy Boy (Fat guy in a little coat)
Forest Gump (Lt. Dan, Ice Cream!)
Signs (Swing Away)

4 Things you Want to Do:
1.) Lead worship while playing the guitar. (aka: learn to play the guitar)
2.) Go to the Grand Canyon
3.) Read the Bible. (The whole thing)
4.) Run a Marathon / Benchpress my weight (both health related, only count as one)

4 Costumes You've Worn on Halloween:
Casper the Freindly Ghost (5 years old)
Punk Rocker (11 years old)
Darth Vader (30 years old)
Fred Flintstone (32 years old)

4 Songs You Could Listen to Again and Again:
Baracuda by Heart
Papa Loved Mama by Garth Brooks
I'm Amazed by The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir
Saved by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir (as performed by Westwood Baptist Choir, Kara Kinnaird Soloist)

4 Websites You Visit Daily:
foxnews.com (one of the few sites I can visit at worked that is not deemed in appropriate)
compassweb.com (got to check my bank account)
gmail.com (e-mail)
listoftheday.blogspot.com (not alway clean, but most of the time hilarious)

something old, something new

So I've now committed to blogspot.
I've had blogs in the past on livejournal & myspace, but now I've moved them all here. I hope you don't expect much out of this blog. It probably won't be updated regularly. And it won't always be funny or even remotely educational. Mostly just my barely coherent ramblings. I've copied all my old blog entries onto this one, so that I could easily look back and remind myself of how foolish I am. (Example: I blogged early this year about being hurt by someone who I thought was a friend. I honestly don't even recall who I was talking about.)

Maybe one day I'll look back on all this and see that these adventures all taught me something that helped move me on to greater things, but I doubt it.

Monday, September 15, 2008

10 things I've learned recently...

1.) When your 2 year old decides that "truck" should be pronounced with a "F" instead of a "Tr" it makes for many uncomfortable moments in public.

2.) I'm trying to keep up with too many shows on TV right now. Something has got to go.

3.) Singing in a 200+ voice choir led by Aubrey Edwards is a pretty awesome experience.

4.) I love my wife. (Ok, I didn't just learn that. It's just still very true.)

5.)My 4 year old asks a lot of really good questions. Here's one recently.. "Daddy, why is gas so expensive?"

6.)I need to read more. (Have I mentioned I watch too much TV?)

7.)Credit Cards are bad. (Again, something I didn't just learn. Just something I'm reminded of every time I pay the bill for stuff I bought too long ago.)

8.) Craig Ferguson is one of the funniest men on TV.

9.)It's weird to say this.... I actually like working out.

10.) I need to stop now, I've got to get off the computer and watch some of the shows I DVR'd tonight. I think House starts tonight! or maybe that's tomorrow?

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Mystery Squeaks

For months my car has been making a bizarre noise. I've never been able to figure out where it was coming from. While driving, especially on bumpy roads, I'd hear a light squeak coming from the left side of my car. It always sounded like it was something loose in the door, or drivers side mirror, or maybe even in the suspension.
This past weekend I was driving Kristi's car and heard something that sounded like the same noise. I listened very closely to try to pinpoint the noise but had no luck. Being that I'd now heard it in two vehicles I came to 2 possible conclusions..1.) I'm going deaf and instead of a ringing in my ears, I've got a squeak or 2.) I'm so heavy that I've managed to put a strain on the suspension of both a Hond Accord and an suv. Either way I was not happy.
So, 3 minutes ago, I'm at my desk at work, I begin to drum on the desk with a pen in each hand and squeak, squeak, squeak is the sound I hear from the hinges on my watchband as it wiggles loosely on my arm.
I'm such an idiot.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

UGH!!!! !@$ @!$! %$$%$@@ &^%*^^

Wanna hear an awful story....
I've been excited for weeks about the "Lost" season finale.
Watched it tonight. My DVR glitched and didn't record the last 15 minutes !!!!
Cuss words! cuss words! cuss words! cuss words!!!

Friday, May 23, 2008

Wow!

At work today I heard one of the guys from the plant talking about some "smokin' hot playboy model" that had given up modeling because she had "found religion" (his words not mine). I got curious about the story and googled her. What I found it pretty amazing. I've left out her name bacuse I don't want you to be tempted to google her too. What you might find is not exactly safe for young eyes, or any eyes really.
This is a copy from her website. Apparently is was formerly a site where you could get thousands of nude photos and videos of her. She has given up a successful (in the worlds eyes) career to follow Christ. I felt this was good enough to share. I've X'd out anything identifying who she is.
..................................................................................................................
I love you guys!

The Only Way Out:

This message is to ALL of my friends and fans. I wasn't sure how exactly to start this...but I trusted that God would help me write this and maybe through me I could speak His word and make His will be done.....

For a long time I have been very lost. So lost in myself and in the world that I didn't even REALIZE that I was lost. I have always thought of myself as a pretty good person. I love helping people, I love befriending people, I love animal rescue and rehab. I care a GREAT deal for my friends and family and ALWAYS do whatever I can to care for them and make sure that they are ok. For a long time I THOUGHT that I was doing the right thing.....and doing my personal best......well...I was wrong...dead wrong.

Being in the world of adult modeling I see A LOT of pain....A LOT of heart break. SO many lost girls get into this business just for some extra money....to help pay for school....to help support themselves or even their children as single moms. "It's just temporary". They are only going to do this for a while...just a few shoots.

I too started out to make some extra money to help me finish school. Almost ALL of the time It doesn't end where you think it will.....the path goes on......the hole gets deeper....and the road gets darker. MOST of the time the girls don't even realize it. One day you see this bright beautiful girl shooting tame nudes...the next they are signing on the dotted line of a hard-core porn company. Lost. Broken. Alone.

I being on the other side of these pictures you don't see the pain these girls are in. The struggle....the drugs that they take so they can get themselves through these sets. Sometimes it's just a show....you pretend to be someone else..become someone you never thought you could be...and the hole gets deeper.

I never thought of myself as one of these girls. What I have been doing "wasn't porn". I connect to well and so close with so many of my fans. I didn't realize what I was doing or why.

The past few years have been very difficult for me. That is no secret to anyone that knows anything about me. I have been working my tail off to support myself, my farm, my rescues, my family, and the list goes on. No matter how hard I worked.....no matter how many people or creatures I helped I STILL had that void inside of my heart and my soul. Connecting with person after person through my site as REAL FRIENDS. I understood the loneliness of the people that I would talk to...because I myself was so lonely. The more I shot...the deeper my darkness got.....the more I understood the pain of others. My friends and my fan. There is ONE common thread to so many of us online here.....the need to be loved, accepted, cared for, the need to have SOMEONE understand you and connect with you. At the end of so many of these emails was that loneliness. SO many men have asked me what they were doing wrong, how to find a special girl like me for THEM. How to fill that "void" in their hearts...in their souls. For a long time I thought I was helping to fill that void in the lives of so many, and in a way I was. But it was all a lie. I could never fill that void for anyone...only be a sinful band aid for it. Only cause the loneliness to deepen....only cause my own soul to ache more.

I have been looking so long and so hard for someone to love me. Love ME for ME. Fill that hole in my soul. Complete me. All this time the only thing standing in my way was me. I have been blind and wrong. On so many levels for so long.

I have decided to leave the world of adult and porn behind me....and follow the lord. I have accepted Jesus Christ as my Lord and Savior and am devoting my life to HIS WILL. I have found the one thing that can, will and DOES fill that void...and that's GOD.

I have been trapped in sin and destruction for so long. Disappointment after disappointment......painful venture after painful venture. I have been my own worst enemy. Holding the key all along that could set me free from the darkness that had slowly enveloped me....that was eating away piece by piece my soul. Burning the light out of my eyes so slowly that I didn't even see it....didn't know it.....

It is with a new clarity and a new purpose that I will continue my life. I WANT TO HELP THESE GIRLS! These lost souls.....these girls that are ABUSING THEMSELVES. Selling themselves for NOTHING. I want to help them STOP THIS PAIN. I want to show them the light.....and the love of Jesus. ONLY HE CAN FILL THIS VOID IN THEIR LIFE! HE IS THE WAY....THE ONLY WAY.

I also want to help my fans...my friends......This void in your life and heart. You seek pornography to fill it....it's only a bandage. Sin isn't ugly....it's beautiful. It can't fill the voids in your life. ONLY GOD CAN FILL THEM!

I love my fans, and I love YOU. I want YOU to feel this peace. I want YOU to get out of the darkness that is all around you. You can not live with one foot in Christ and one in the world. Our time here is so short....today could be your last day here. And what will you have lived for? Died for? There is only one way to heaven and eternal life....and that is through Jesus.

I will not and can not desert my friends and fans. The models.....the world. I can't and I won't. I am hoping that the Lord will work through me and guide me to do HIS will and help those that I can. Those that will stop and listen....those that will allow the Holy Spirit to fill them and speak to them as it has me.

I know that there are going to be a lot of people that will think this is a big joke....laugh.....wonder if I have lost my mind....well....I have news for you.... FOOLS MOCK THE TRUTH. There is ONE WAY. And only one way. I have found that way. I have FILLED THE HOLE IN MY SOUL! Filled that void that I couldn't fill with anything else. My life isn't about ME anymore.....My life is about God and HIS will. I want to spread HIS love. Tell people about Him......lead people home to Him. I don't care what you have done.....how lost you think you are....how hopeless you think things are......I HAVE GREAT NEWS FOR YOU! It's NOT TOO LATE. God LOVES YOU! He wants YOU. All you have to do is accept His gift. IT'S RIGHT THERE FOR YOU! Jesus died on the cross for OUR SINS. The price for us has already been PAID IN FULL.

I will not be attending glamourcon or shooting anything else. The next and last person that will see and enjoy my body will be a husband AS GOD INTENDED! I have asked for forgiveness for what I have done AND HAVE BEEN FORGIVEN! I will spend the rest of my life doing the Lords will and the Lords work. I AM HIS!

I want you ALL to know that I love you very much.....you ARE MY FRIENDS! I want you to know God.....I want you to get out of this darkness...this saddness and follow the word of God. There is ONLY ONE WAY OUT!

I will not abandon you......

As always my email address to ALL of my friends and fans is xxxxxxxxx. I understand that this is coming as a complete surprise to my loyal members who have joined my new site to support me and my new venture. I totally understand if you would like a refund for your membership. Please email me at: xxxxxxx for a complete refund.

My life is beginning NOW. From this day on I will live HIS will and HIS way. My heart is HIS.

Serving Christ,
XXXXXXXX

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Michigan Man Protests Losing His Son After Mistakenly Giving Him Alcoholic Lemonade

Michigan Man Protests Losing His Son After Mistakenly Giving Him Alcoholic Lemonade

This is crazy. First, the headline made me think his son had died. Then as I read further, I saw that this man was not necessarily a bad father, maybe just an idiot. A $7 lemonade at a major league game might have seemed steep, but not altogether unheard of. He's an idiot, but not necessarily deserving to lose his son.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

American Idol: Shout To The Lord

So last night, on the "American Idol: Idol Gives Back" show, the grand finale was "Shout To The Lord". Did anyone else notice they changed the words. They sang "My shepherd, my savior" Rather than singing the name of Jesus. I’m not sure how I feel about that.
I mean, the song goes on to say how "mountains will bow and the seas will roar at the sound of Your name". Who’s name? You weren’t even bold enough to sing it.
I understand why they did that. You don’t want to focus on only one religion on a national show like that. And I’m sure they had to get Derlene ZCHECHCHech’s (I think thats how you really spell it.) permission to do the song. I guess if I were in her place I’m much rather have them change one word and do the song, then not do it at all.
Clearly the producers on AI know a good song when they hear one and they wanted a big ending that would draw some emotion and sound good backed by a gospel choir. I think they choise wisely. But I think were I one of the Idols. (stop laughing) I would have sung "Jesus" anyway.
Having said that it was a great performance of the song.
"Forever I’ll love you, Forever I’ll stand. Nothing compares to the promise I have in You." not even being on American Idol.Oh yeah, one more thing: Heart and Fergie doing "Barracuda" was awesome. Who knew Fergie could sing? I gues those years on Kids Incorporated really paid off.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Ready! Aim! Fire!

At work today we got to talking about stupid things we did as kids. I shared this story. People were surprised I survived my childhood. Enjoy!

When I was 9 I found a shotgun shell in my parents bedroom. I had seen them before because my dad would take me hunting every once in a while (he was more of a fisherman than a hunter). As I looked at this shell I was amazed how such a little thing could inflict so much damage. So I, being the inquisitive child that I was (I was the kind of kid that took stuff apart to see how it worked) decided to figure out how a shotgun shell worked.

As my examination began I realized that the metal end had a little divot in the middle and that some sort of part in the gun must hit that spot and make the bullet come out the other side. I was too young and stupid to realize it was gunshot and gunpowder inside. I began to wonder how hard I would have to hit that spot to make it shoot. I knew I didn't want to shoot my foot off or shoot anything in the house, so I took my experiment outside. Also realizing that it might do damage to my hand if I hit it while holding it I tried to figure out a way to strike the metal divot without actually touching it.. Then I had a eureka moment. I could shoot it with my BB gun.

All I needed to do was lay the shell on a tree stump, lay down close to the stump and aim at the metal part of the shell. If I was a good enough shot, I would hit the small divot and make the bullet some out the other side... So it began. I did just that and was lining up my shot when all of a sudden, by 4 yr old sister, Leslie, walked out of the house behind me. Again, another eureka moment. How was I going to know where the bullet went if I wasn't watching it. (I was staring intently at my target.) I needed someone to be beside the shell on the stump to watch it shoot out. "Hey Leslie, come here I've got a good idea" ...

And so began my explanation of what I was up to. Without hesitation and trusting her big brother she got on the ground approximately 3 feet to the side of the shell. There I am laying behind it like a sniper ready to hit the metal end with a BB..." are you ready? One, two, three...."

!!!!!BANG!!!!!

The shell absolutely exploded. I had done it, I had hit the metal part. Leslie looked at me confused.. "where did the bullet part go?" Neither of us had any idea (again we didn't know it was full of gunshot. not a solid bullet). I was so amazed and excited that I had hit it I immediately ran inside and did, what I later realized, the dumbest thing in this whole story. I told my Mom. "Hey Mom guess what I just did?"

She looked at me in shock, not saying a word. After a minute she very calmly said "I heard something and thought you had wrecked your bike into the side of the van." Then she began to get angry and said "You could have killed your sister" then she started to cry. The end of that conversation was my least favorite phrase I ever heard as a kid "we'll have a talk with your dad when he gets home."

There's more to this story, but it involves a belt, a lot of crying and screaming, and one kid who learned a lesson. That lesson… If you're going to do something cool, don't invite your little sister.

THE END…totally true story

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Man! Oh Man!

I just overheard someone down the hall say the following about me to someone else...
"I don’t handle our flatbed trucks. All of that’s handled by another MAN here in the office. His name is Shawn Stinson."
Is it weird that being bescribed as a "man" is a little uncomfortable to me. Now I’m not talking about "man" meaning manly man, hetero sexual, macho. I have no doubt I’m that kind of man. I’m talking about man meaning "ADULT male". It sounds so responsible, so mature.
Yes, I’m 33 years old. Yes, I have two children. Yes, I have two jobs, a home and two cars. But that does really make me an adult? I don’t know why I’m weirded out by that. (Should a man say "weirded out"?) I’m not sure what word I’d be more comfortable with. Boy = no, Guy = okay, dude = yes, but not everyone can say dude. Can you imagine your grandmother saying something about that Dude that led worship at church Sunday. I don’t think so.
Having thought about it some more. I think I’m okay with being called a man. I can remember my Dad when he was 33. He was definately a man at this age. I guess I’m just waiting for the day when all my interests turn to the things that the men I watched growing up were interested in such as sports, working on cars, and fishing. For now I think I’ll stick with my video games and geeky movies. (Have I mentioned "G.I. Joe" is coming out in summer of 2009. I’m way more excited about this than a 33 year old MAN should be.)

Monday, March 24, 2008

I Feel Good

You know, it feels really good to work hard on something and have everything turn out like you planned it.
The choir and orchestra at Westwood presented a musical called "The Resurrection & The Life" at church Easter Sunday morning. Everything went great. Usually after a production, I find myself thinking "I wish I had done this or that differently." But not this time. Everything went great.
I am so thankful to be working with such a talented group of people at Westwood, not just in the choir & orchestra, but running lights, tech, cameras, and even writing narration. I’m not sure how I’ve suckered them all into thinking I should be the guy in charge, but for now, that’s the way it is.
A few months ago when I preseneted the music committee with my idea for the program (sets, drama, costumes, multiple performances, etc.) I wasn’t exactly enthused about their idea of doing this smaller production on Easter Sunday morning. But it was perfect. What an awesome crowd we had and I already know of one decision that was made and some visitors that have said they’ll return. I know that wasn’t all because of the musical. But it feels good to have played a small part.
There are some at Westwood that look back 10 years ago and wish we could do those type of large scale performances again. We may not have as many people now as we did then, but I have no doubt the quality of what we are currently doing is just as good if not better.
God has a lot in store for us. I can hardly wait to see what’s next.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Tales from Street Road...the Beginning

I live on "Street Road".
I'm not making that up.
In a small town, in the deep south of the land of the free, there is a road called "Street Road".
I am lucky (?) enough to live there.

Here, on this blog, I will share with the world some of my adventures & misadventures as I try to navigate my way through my goofy life. I hope you'll join me.

First some stats..
Married to "The Wife"
Have two sons; "Big Boy" & "Little Boy".
Two jobs: Full Time - Inside Sales & Transportation (I handle customer issues for a manufacturing plant and schedule trucks to carry our products.)
Part Time- Minister of Music in a Southern Baptist Church in the south

I can't decide how anonymous I want this to be. Wouldn't be too hard to decipher who I am based on the info I've already given out. I guess the real question is how honest do I want to be here? I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Highlight & Delete

Don't you just love computers. With a simple drag of a mouse and click of a button you can delete something before it is said.
I've decided to try to do that with my volublary. There are a few words I use a lot that I want to get rid of. If you hear me use any of these you have my permission to thump me in the forehead.
1.) "Golly" - I realized recently I say this a lot. Not "Golly" like leave it to Beaver might say, but more like...."Gyah Lee". It doesnt really make much sense as a exclamation plus I heard someone else say it the other day and they sounded like an idiot.
2.) "Fabulous" - I don't say this a lot. But it does creep up sometimes. I said it at work today and got a strange look from a coworker. Why am I deleting it from my vocabulary... because I am a heterosexual male. That's reason enough.
3.) ""No way, Hose" - Why is everyone also so negative toward Hose? What did he do to make him the receiver of all bad news. I'm going to start giving George (whore-hay) ((that's probably not the correct way to spell that pronunciation)) a hard time . So from now on it's "No way, George." and "Okay, Hose".
4.) "suck or sucks" - There have been debates on this word for decades. Is it a curse word? Is it offensive? Does it infer that something is so bad it engages in inappropriate activities.? Regardless of how popular it might be I will be attempting to delete it. This will probably be the hardest to remove.
5.) - just a note - Some have suggested I loose "Dude". I enjoy that word too much. Regardless how long ago the '80's were. "Dude" will remain.

What words should you delete?

Friday, February 15, 2008

Stolen From Another Blog

Top 12 signs the worship service isn't going well...
1 The lyrics are vague enough that they could either be about God, your cocker spaniel, or your boyfriend/girlfriend.2. The congregation has at least three trained marksmen, who, if they triangulate their fire, could end this service before things get any worse...:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
3. Portions of the congregation are trying to figure out a way to leave during the next prayer, assuming enough people have their eyes closed and the ushers are not blocking the exits.4. The congregation is considering sending the worship team on an extended missions trip to the most hostile places they can think of.
5. You are considering coming to the church during the week for no other reason other than to install a series of remote-operated trap doors in the platform.6. You have decided that if you bang your head really hard on the pew in front of you, you should wake up sometime during the last five minutes of the sermon, or during Wednesday night prayer meeting.7. You're tempted to stand up where you are and close the service in a word of prayer.8. You find yourself reading bulletins in your Bible that date back to last year's Good Friday service.9. You're starting to think that this particular church service would have been the basis of a great episode of Seinfeld.
10. You begin to think of funny typos that you could insert into each PowerPoint slide, but then decide that nothing could be funnier that what's already up there.
11. You long for the sweet release of death.
12 The guy running the PowerPoint is on a completely different song, but it doesn't seem to matter as the worship team is completely lost and the congregation stopped singing ten minutes ago.

This was in the news...

From Foxnews.com. I saw this and had to share it. The last two lines are priceless.

TAMPA, Fla. — A Florida pastor has a new challenge for his parishioners. It involves sex - a subject that may be taboo in many congregations

The Relevant Church in Tampa's Ybor City has issued a 30-day sex challenge.

"It's going to be tempting and awkward at the same time for sure," said parishioner Brent Cayson.

Single men and women can't have sex for 30 days, and married couples are urged to have it every day.

"If you look at studies, studies say in 30 days you can develop a habit," said Pastor Paul Wirth.

It definitely caught wives in the church by surprise.

"Our married people are far more fearful than our single people," said Wirth.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Celebrate Good Times! Come On!

Many of you have heard me rant and rave about the lack of high speed internet availability where I live. (Why Charter won't run cable down my street I'll probably never know). But alas, my struggles are finally over.

For 10 years I've dealt with dial-up internet access at my house. The fastest I've ever connected was 52kbs. A typical myspace page took 4 minutes to load completely if there was music on it. Last night I purchased a wireless modem from Verizon and am now online at speeds 10X that fast. While I'm still not exactly "high speed". I'm much higher. And that makes a lot of difference. Now that same myspace I mentioned earlier loads completely in about 15 seconds.

Unfortunately the upload speeds aren't increased much, so online gaming is still not anywhere in my future. But at least I can download something from Youtube without dying of boredom before it loads.

So, now, for only $40 more per month than what I was paying (Goodbye Earthlink!) I'm going to be able to see the same junk that I did before, but in less time. Is that a productive move? I'm not sure.

I'll be ditching my Earthlink address sometime in the coming months. Go ahead and update your files.. Here's my new e-mail....

cshawnstinson@gmail.com

(Did you know my first name is Charles? Do I look like a Charles? I think not.)

Friday, February 1, 2008

My desk is alive with the sound of music

I've done it. I've completed a task that Ive been working on for months. You're going to think this is dumb. In a way I think it's dumb. But I still feel like I've accomplished something.

Back in October I decided to copy all the songs on my ipod to my computer at work. I've got every CD that I own on my ipod so that's a ton of songs. 2756 to be exact. Since then I've been listening to my songs alphabetically every day. When I'd come in to work I'd hit play and any time I'd leave me desk I'd hit pause. I started this on October 24th and finished yesterday. That's a long time and a lot of songs. Like I said, I can acknowledge that this is really pretty lame. But it was just something to do to make the day go by quicker.

But, as with everything this taught me something. Maybe this list of things I learned will help you learn something to.

1.) I own a lot of CD's. Sadly 90% of them are from the mid 90's when I had more $ than sense. This makes for a pretty crappy CD collection. Do I really need every "Audio Adrenaline" CD?

2.) Being a member of a CD club is really stupid. Yes you might get 50 cd's for a penny, but the agreement after that really screws you. I think that's how I ended up with "Andy Griffith sings favorite Hymns". If you've fallen into this trap, be sure to mail back anything you don't want promptly.

3.) Listening to songs alphabetically can be more difficult than you'd imagine. I wasn't aware until Early December that I owned 12 different versions of "Open The Eyes Of My Heart". That hour of music almost drove me insane.

4.) Too many worship song begin with "I".

5.) Most CD's only have 2 or 3 good songs. The rest are just filler.

6.) After a while all of Garth Brooks' songs sound the same.

7.) Best CD in my collection for listening to at work may be "Queen's Greatest Hits". Worst CD is definately "Hymnz in Da House" Hymns set to club music. Imagine the Roxsbury guys listening to "It is well" with a beat. wow, that is awful!

8.) I like songs that tell a story. "This here's a song about two sets of J..)

9.) I've bought less than 15 cd's in the past 2 years. Half of those were by Johnny Cash. I'm not tired of him yet.

10.)There have been too many covers of the song "Desperado".

Well, I've accomplished my task. Listened to all my songs. From "100 years from Now" by Huey Lewis to "Your Song" by Sir Elton John. Now what am I supposed to do at work? Actually work?!?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Nightmares & Dreamscapes

So I had a very bizarre dream last night.

I really want to go see the movie Cloverfield and I'm sure that had something to do with this dream. So here it is. Maybe you can help me figure out what it means.

In the dream my family lives in New York City. It's just another normal day, we get up take Ethan to daycare in the heart of downtown and go to work. I get to work and find out there is a large Godzilla like monster attacking the city. I quickly leave work and run through the streets, fighting the crowds, to pick up Ethan (I'm not sure where Gavin was during all of this.) After getting him, we find out the monster is only blocks away, we can see him towering over the skyline. So Ethan and I make our way towards home, on foot. Luckily the National guard is there firing at the monster providing us cover. I pick up an automatic rifle and begin running backwards, holding Ethan, firing at the Monster. This only draws his full attention towards us. I guess the tanks firing at him didn't compare to the threat from a large slow man and his 3 yeard old son. Anyway, he is quickly gaining on us and we know we are about to get stepped on. We reach home just in the nick of time, Kristi has arranged for a military helicopter to pick us up there. Ethan and I hop in and fly away barely missing the reach of the monster. The End. Here's where it gets really weird. I had this dream a 2nd time, within the dream knowing the outcome and not worrying at all because I already knew everything would be okay. I even gave the gun to Ethan at one point so he could shoot at the monster while I focused on getting us home.

Then I dreamed this same thing a 3rd time. This time though, when I left work I couldn't find the daycare. It was as if I had never been there before. There are people running frantically everywhere and I'm trying to stop them and ask directions to a daycare. aAound me people are yelling "run for your lives" "we're all going to die" and I'm stopping people to say "Do you know how to get to 3rd Street Daycare?" The dream ended when I looked up towards the monster heading my way and he was just standing there laughing at me.

Anyone care to interpret this dream?

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Oh death, won’t you spare me over til another year?

Death surrounds us. Today I feel almost choked by it.

Saturday night I learned of the death of Bronner Burgess, the 2 year old son of radio host Rick Burgess, of The Rick & Bubba Show. Now, I've never met Rick or any of his family. But it's bizarre how I feel like I know them. I've been listening to that show daily for more than 10 years. They feel like family. Hearing that news really made me feel like I had lost a family member. Also, being a father now, I can't fathom the sorrow that would come from losing one of my boys. I've been amazed at the way the show and his famly has given God glory in all of this. What an awesome testimony to what a relationship with Christ can mean to you.

Considering that news, I've been strangely affected by the deaths of two celebrities. I heard recently about Brad Renfroe & just today Heath Ledger was found dead. (I was so exzcited about his upcoming role in The Dark Night. I wonder if production had finished?))I can't help but think of their families. Yes, the circumstances were much different. It appears they each brought their problems onto themsleves, but they are both someone's cihld, someone's father. I feel sorrow for their families and what they are going through.

God, show them your glory.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Best doggone dog in the west (west alabama)

Sadness. My dog is gone.

I love dogs, grew up with one living in the house, sleeping in my bed wth me. Kristi does not love dogs. It took me years to convince her we needed one. 4 years ago we made a bet on the gender of her sister's first child. I won that bet (shout-out to my nephew Will!) As a result of that wager I won the right to get a dog. I didn't cash in on that bet until a couple years ago. Almost two years ago Mally joined our family. She is (was?) a mix Great Pyrenese/ German Shepherd. She was huge. Could stand on her back feet and look me in the eye. Unfortunately her size mixed with her puppyness, made for some rough play when she was a puppy and so she didn't make friends with Kristi or Ethan very easily.

Since we don't have a fence, she was a chain dog. She would stay on her chain during the day and at night I would let her off to run wild in the neighborhood. After a few months of this I learned that every night she was going across the street and playing with Uncle Danny's dog Smokey. Apparently they were the best of friends. Smokey is a boy. Malley is a girl. But they've both been fixed so nothing inappropriate was going on. Sadly we learned a few months ago that Smokey is going blind and it had been decided he was going to be "put down". Feeling really bad about this, Uncle Danny decided to let him off his chain for a couple last nights of freedom. And of course Smokey came to our house to play for those nights. Mally was so happy having a friend to play with at our house. Then it happened.

Thanksgiving night, I let Mally off the chain so that she and Smokey could run a play together in the field. That was the last time I saw her. She's never been one to run away before, but I wasn't too worried when we didn't see either of them the next day or two. And actually I had given up all hope after a week or so. Then a Christmas miracle, a couple days after Christmas Smokey was found at the end of our road. Yeah! Surely Mally was somewhere close as well. Ethan and I went on a Malley hunt. Taking flyers to all of our neighbors, asking them if they'd see a huge white dog running around. And we were given some hope. A couple of them had seen Smokey and another dog in the weeks prior, but only Smokey recently. But alas, Mally has still not been found. And what's even worse, Smokey has not been eating for weeks. He circles our house looking for Malley. We're all afraid that something happened to Mally and that Smokey is in mourning. I guess I am too.

Monday, January 7, 2008

reactions to blogging

It has been very interesting to see people's reactions to my recent blogs. I've learned two things. First,people enjoy reading blogs, but don't usually want very personal information. The reactions to my honesty and openness in my blog about weight loss has been strange. I've had 3 people tell me they felt uncomfortable reading it. Maybe too much info? I don't care. I know it's going to help me to stick with it knowing a lot of people are "in the know". (so far I've lost 11.5 lbs, But I did get a haircut so that might have helped. =)

Also I've learned if you blog about being mad at someone, but remain silent about who it is, a lot of people will say "Is it me?" People are funny that way. Maybe I should blog next about the person that I'm mad at because they owe me a lot of money. If you think it's you, go ahead and pay me what you think you owe and I'll forgive you for being indebted to me this long.