10 years ago today . . .
November 30, 2006, 6:57 am
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. . . I woke up for the last time as a single man.

. . . I put on a tuxedo.

. . . I walked into a church alone.

. . . I walked out of the church with a beautiful bride on my arm.

. . . I began a life that’s been better than I could have dreamed.

Baby It’s Cold Outside
November 28, 2006, 5:06 pm
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Geez, man, it’s not even winter yet, and we here in Seattle are getting a dose of cold, snowy weather. In the past couple years since we moved here, we’ve had light snow maybe three or four times, which lasts a few hours and then goes away. Not this time!! Yesterday evening, here’s what I saw out on the back deck.

Anyway, it did create some mayhem on the roads. Lots of people stranded on freeways, abandoning their cars, sliding down hills. And, as I said, it didn’t go anywhere today. I think the high at our house was 33F. Lows in the teens tonight. Neither Michelle, nor I made it in to work today. Maybe we’ll get brave tomorrow. For now, there’s a fire going, and we’re just hangin’ out.

A Church Building That’s Environmentally Friendly?
November 28, 2006, 6:04 am
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An American architect designed and built this here building for a church in Rome.  It is a white concrete structure that has a coating on it that was made to be self-cleaning, and minimize maintenance.  As it turns out, some tests indicate that not only does it deliver on that goal, but it actually “eats” smog.  Apparently, the coating contains titanium dioxide, and helps to destroy pollutants in car exhaust.  Read more here.

Go buy books
November 27, 2006, 1:45 pm
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Bill, your friend with a bookstore is having a post-conference clearance sale.  Tasty titles at killer prices.  Go here and see for your own self!

New Orleans . . . beginning to recover, but only beginning
November 20, 2006, 9:26 am
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I did a quick trip to New Orleans over the weekend.  Landed at 2:30 Friday afternoon, and flew out 7:15 Sunday morning.  I was at a conference doing some recruiting (again), but got to drive around town just a little bit.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to get to Chalmette, where I was able to spend Spring Break with our college students earlier this year.  Still, the parts of town I went through were significantly under water and significantly damaged by Katrina.  New Orleans continues to be in shambles.  But one definite difference I noticed was that as opposed to 6 months after the fact, there are now lots and lots of the FEMA trailers sitting in front of peoples’ houses, indicating that they’re back on their property and at least in a process toward rebuilding.  More grocery stores are open and looking normal, more restaurants around town are in business, more cars on the roads.

I booked my hotel the cheapskate way, through Priceline, so I didn’t pick the location, but I ended up downtown, one block away from the west end of Bourbon Street.  On my previous trip, I spent zero time there, so I walked down there to look around on Friday night.  Gross.  Now, I’m not being a moralistic, pious, judgemental guy when I say that – I’m just saying that it was a big big turnoff.  I guess drunk people who think they’re either hot, funny, tough, or horny just don’t impress me all that much.  Honestly, that place made me think of how very classy Las Vegas is by comparison.  I only walked about three blocks in, and turned around – it really reminded me of the party scene in Tijuana, where I spent a little time in high school.

It was weird, though, because on Saturday night, when I stepped out to grab a sandwich for dinner, I began walking the opposite direction from Bourbon Street, but was drawn back that way by the sounds of a brass band.  There, on the corner of Canal and Bourbon, were a couple trumpets, a couple trombones, a tuba, a tenor sax, and some drums, being played like there’s no tomorrow – really fun stuff, with a ton of gusto.  After watching that, I walked back down the street and found a little cafe to buy a PoBoy, and they, too, had a little band – dixie style this time.  It was much earlier in the evening than I had been on the street the night before, so people weren’t quite sloppy drunk yet.  My impression of the scene was improved a little.  Still wouldn’t go there for anything I’d call fun, but at least I didn’t come back home with only negative memories of it all.

After having been to New Orleans twice this year now, I still have mixed feelings about the whole scene there.  There are still incredibly tangible racial tensions around town, still so much devastation everywhere you look, so much of life built around feeding the vices of tourists.  But there are still people who love their hometown, and the community they’ve been a part of, and they’re still fighting for dignity with courage.  Those people know how to survive, even when they’ve been abandoned (or maybe because they’ve been abandoned).  I wish them well.

When I returned to the quiet of my hotel room, I flipped on the TV, and found the HBO Comic Relief show, taking place (in part) live, from the very street I was just on minutes prior.

I’m glad to be back home – the only travel I’ve got left this year is actually with Michelle (imagine that).

Better than Fair Trade?
November 16, 2006, 7:56 am
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Just read a blog post over at Caffeist about a new coffee shop over in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle.  It’s the first shop for the for-profit co-op call Equal Exchange, that’s been in the fairly traded coffee market 5 years longer than Transfair, the most widely known Fair Trade organization.

Interesting little article, and it sounds like Equal Exchange’s quality is on par with some of the best in Seattle.  Sounds like I’ll be finding my way to Ballard soon . . .

A Seattle Pastor that actually sounds like Jesus
November 14, 2006, 7:50 pm
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Rose Swetman, co-pastor of the Vineyard in Shoreline, WA – that’s just north of Seattle for you out-of-towners has written an open letter to Mark Driscoll in the wake of yet another debacle his crass bravado has created.

[Read the letter here]

Rose is to be celebrated for her wise, measured, and humble approach.  I’ve had the pleasure of knowing her for a little over a year now, and have been to her church multiple times.  She’s a godly woman, who is powerful in all the right ways.  I pray her letter gets read and respected by its recipient.