November 30, 2005, 6:35 am
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Nine years and counting . . .

Today I get to celebrate the love of my life, and the fact that nine years ago today we became wife and husband. Ours has been an atypical marriage in a lot of ways. But she’s been amazing. I’m glad I get to hang out with her. I know I’m better for it. I hope she can say the same.


November 28, 2005, 1:17 pm
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Well, it looks like we made it through a very very busy month around here. We flew in from San Diego this morning. Great weather all weekend – wearing t-shirts and sandals most of the time . . . and then we get off the plane to 34 degrees in Seattle, with a possible forecast of snow for tonight. I’m not complaining, but moving to SoCal for the weather is making more sense to me now than it used to.

We had a good time with family and friends. Way too much food – but it was good food. ‘Nuff said about that. It was definitely good to see everyone – see how the nephews and niece are growing up, share prolonged air space with our parents, catch up with folks we haven’t gotten to talk to for a while. Heck, it’s only been a couple weeks, but we got to see Jason again – but this time there was a bonus of spending time at the Hawthorne house with Brooke, Paige, and some of the Ecclesia community.

Glad to be back home to at least make an attempt at re-establishing a rhythm for the next month, at which time we travel once again.

I was able to pick up and read about half of Anne Rice‘s first book in a new series: Christ the Lord, Out of Egypt. I’ll write more about that later. Time to get some work done.

November 22, 2005, 11:30 am
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This life thing continues to be a blur. I’ve had a terrific past few weeks, in which I’ve met some really quality people and had very good conversations about life in the Kingdom. There are still a ton of challenges in front of me – some are short-term and some are long-range. I’ve scheduled some time with my project management consultant . . . in other words, my wife, to help me do some structured timeline planning, which should help.

Tomorrow night we’ll be on an airplane to San Diego. Tonight, though, I get to hang out with the students I work with at UW. Cool – I’ve missed that. Seems like all the time I’ve spent with them lately has been in between other big project stuff, and my mind hasn’t been fully there, which is lame.

I’m beginning to think about some spiritual disciplines to more intentionally integrate into my life in 2006. I’m feeling the need for those kinds of anchors in the middle of all the busy stuff I do.

November 18, 2005, 10:14 am
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Back from New York. Very interesting trip, on several levels. I’m still processing some thoughts on what I experienced, but overall it was a good time. I saw much more of the city than I had thought I would going in – again, I didn’t spend a lot of time thinking about it before getting on the airplane to go. I’ll cut out the detailing of everything I saw and did, just so I don’t sound like too much of a tourist. Here are a few of my favorite moments, though:
– seeing a team of break-dancers in the subway at Grand Central Station
– Columbia University’s amazing campus
– attending my first ever Catholic mass . . . at St. Patrick’s Cathedral

I don’t know if this next one qualifies as a favorite or not, but it was kind of funny. On Tuesday night, I was with my travel buddies in Times Square. Big crowd of people standing around. And then a Garth Brooks concert breaks out! The Country Music Awards were in town, and they did a live concert shot right there to open the show. I couldn’t quote you two lines from any Garth Brooks song if my life depended on it, but it was pretty crazy. The “concert” consisted of him doing the same song three times – two practice runs, and then the broadcast version.

My reason for going to NY in the first place was to check out a leadership school that my denomination has sponsored. We met with one of the guys who runs it. Interesting stuff, but definitely different than what we have in mind for inter::mission. Theirs is a very safe version of what we’ll do (safe in several senses that I won’t go into here). I did learn a good bit that will help with the administrative side of the set-up, though.

We also got to get a first hand look at a larger effort being given to New York City by the denom. I have to be honest – while a lot of effort is being put forward into church planting, with some “success”, I walked away significantly troubled. I am very conflicted right now in my feelings about this stream. Their efforts at being progressive, especially in terms of ministry to urban areas, seem to be just a new take on colonialism within our own borders. I won’t elaborate here on this, but as always, anyone reading this is welcome to e-mail me for follow-up dialogue.

At this point, I’m just really glad to be home. I really missed Michelle, and am looking forward to hanging out with her a bit this weekend. I’m working a lot this weekend, but I’ll have some time with her too.

Next week – SoCal for Thanksgiving. I’m not sure what our schedule is, but I hear there’s a pretty cool thing going on at the Evans‘ home on Friday. As a positive take on Buy Nothing Day, the Ecclesia Collective is hosting Make Something Day.

November 14, 2005, 9:32 pm
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Wow, what a marathon day. I’m exhausted and my feet are on fire. But that’s nothing more than a sign that I saw a whole heckuva lot of New York today. Obviously I haven’t even scratched the surface, but here’s a quick run-down:

Got up and took a morning walk for coffee at Joe: the Art of Coffee. It’s a place that the good folks over at Victrola in Seattle visited recently and recommended via their blog. And a very strong recommendation it was. Excellent latte.

Walked all around midtown Manhattan – saw the vastness of NYU, Washington Square Park, and the Strand Books store (home of “18 miles of books”). Went in a couple second hand music shops and a couple shoe stores.

Checked out of my hotel, and walked to the subway station to go to the place I’m staying the next few nights. It’s a really cool guest house in a Brownstone, about half a block away from Central Park and one block over from the Museum of Natural History. I ate a street vendor hot dog for lunch.

Then my travel compadres made it to the guest house, and we ventured out together. Took the subway down to the World Trade Center area. We walked the perimeter of Ground Zero. It’s all cleaned up now, of course, and being prepared for the Freedom Tower to be built. But it’s still just this massive hole in the sky – this in a city where the sky is full of buildings. Creepy. We continued walking down through Battery Park and jumped on the Staten Island Ferry. Basically, we went to Staten Island and back, just because it’s a free trip, and it goes right in front of the Statue of Liberty. After this, we took the subway back up to Times Square, where we ate dinner. Interestingly enough, despite being referred to as this iconic New York City kind of place, felt the least authentic of anything I’ve seen so far. Probably just too many tourists like me. Eventually we made it back to the Brownstone, and given that it’s just in front of midnight, I’m gonna call it quits.

Tomorrow we’ve got a series of meetins with some folks doing ministry here in the city. I’m looking forward to getting down to business with why we came here.

November 13, 2005, 8:00 pm
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Live from New York . . .

Well, after a long day of travel, I’ve settled in at my hotel in New York City. I’m in Midtown Manhattan – about five blocks away from the Empire State Building. I was pleased at how easy it was to get here. I decided to go for the full New York experience and take the subway from JFK into the city. Three different trains and only about six or seven blocks of walking, and I’m here. It only cost me $7, too, which is at least $35 cheaper than the estimates I had been given for cab fare.

I took a walk around town already and ate a couple slices of real NY pizza. Yummm! Now I just need to find a bagel, a pastrami, and a street vendor hot dog. I’m easy to please.

I’m still bummed out that Michelle isn’t here . . . especially given that today is her birthday. I miss her already. She is a major gift to me, and definitely better than I deserve. I’m already looking forward to going home so I can take her out for a proper night on the town for her birthday.

Ah well, time to figure out how to go about getting where I need to be tomorrow . . . I’ll blog as I have opportunity.

November 10, 2005, 3:09 pm
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One of my favorite programs on public radio is called This American Life. Extremely well written, unique, often very entertaining stories. Yesterday, I listened to this show from their archives, which deals with a research project aimed at counting the likely number of Iraqi casualties in the war. Staggering, sad stuff. The show also includes interviews with a former military strategist who is now a human rights advocate, and a serviceman in Iraq. It’s well worth an hour of your time to listen to.