Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Just When Everyone, Including Me, Thot I'd Given Up On This,...

Another entry.

I'm still not sure what to do with this blog. It's not important enough to me to make it a priority, so it won't get entries very often. Unless I decide to do something special with it, like occasional "sermonettes", but that's among the many options for the fate of this blog that I'm still undecided about.

In truth, the whole concept of blogs still seems so odd to me. Imo, anything you care enough about to want to journal or diary about it to save it for later(or for posterity?) is personal and "intimate" and "close" enough that you WOULDN'T want just anyone(particularly certain people you know, and/or especially total strangers to you) reading about it. This blog is now over a year old, and the idea of sharing your innermost thoughts with anyone and everyone(or wasting time blogging about things that are even trivial to you, so as to not share too much too openly with too many) is still an odd, strange, "foreign" concept to me.

There is this weekly podcast I like to listen to. I don't have an Ipod or an MP3 player(or a Cellphone either, in case you're wondering just how out-of-touch or out-of-date I happily am), but you can listen online, so I do.

The only problem with listening online is that you've only got 2 controls; play and stop - no pause. I HAD TO stop the one I'm listening to about 3/4ths of the way thru, so when I went to hear the rest, it restarted. Thus, I'm sitting here, at my puter, waiting for the part I've already heard to pass. Which gives me some time to kill, so I thought I'd at least put that time to some quasi-worthy use and update this blog.

When I'm not online, I can think of all kinds of stuff to blog about, and even some titles as well. But I'm far from organized enough to write those ideas down, so who knows what I'll come up with now that I'm actually at the puter and adding to my blog

There was an online contest Coke ran during the Winter Olympics. You got codes, either off coke products or right from their website for free. Being a Pepsi-preferrer, I opted for the freebie codes from the website. I got 3/day for about 3 weeks.

Each code was assigned to a particular Olympic event. If the US won ANY medal(s) in an event that your code was assigned to, you got(a coupon in the mail for) 5 FREE 2L bottles of Coke products! I think I won about 8-10 coupons.

Well, even tho the Olympics were back in February, the coupons just started arriving about 2 weeks ago. So, needless to say, we won't exactly be hurting for soda in this house anytime soon!

I'm once again majorly into baseball and baseball season. And, once again, I'm at least as into the minors as I am into MLB. I follow MLB more closely, but I think I still enjoy going to minor league games as much as(if not more than) going to MLB games. For MANY reasons.

Mom & Dad were here this past weekend. It went well. They didn't go to church with us, again, and I was really hoping they'd make an exception for Mother's Day, but I should have known better, shouldn't I?

Things have been an interesting mixed bag at church lately. Neither Katrina or I seem particularly enthused about going the next morning when Saturday night rolls around, which has me thinking that maybe we should start looking for a new church at the end of this year(not only this, there are other factors, including the fact that our kid or kids is/are the only one/s in the nursery about as often as not, which isn't ok as Rebekah's now 3). But then, I go to church, and Randy's current series of messages have been, easily, among his best since we got there. So, who knows what we'll end up doing? Prolly moving on, mostly for the kids' sake, but since we can't move on till the end of the year, maybe the nursery'll grow between now & then?

I don't do the announcements during the service anymore, which is more than ok with me, since it was often a complicated task. Neither Randy nor I felt it was working out, so he's resumed doing them. I feel so good and just plain relieved about this.

I still help verify the $ count at the end of the service, still help with communion on the first Sunday of each month(which is the only time we have that), and I still change the message on the sign. As long as I remember to get that changed often enough, that's a lot of fun!

Mostly cuz I come up with many cute or witty sayings for the sign. And others are always making other good suggestions as well. I've prolly got 6-10 sayings ready and waiting to go up, not counting the ones I've already used. Of course, I run them all by Randy first, but he's liked all my suggestions, so far.

Friday, March 10, 2006


We've been thinking about signing up for Netflix for about a month now, maybe longer. I finally signed us up on Wednesday, and I wish I'd done it sooner.

Their website is awesome! It's SO well-done and thorough. Between that and their surprisingly extensive and varied selection, it wasn't hard at all to fill our queue with movies(and other disks) I want to see - and the limit on queue size is 500 disks!

If you don't belong to Netflix, I recommend it! :)

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Frustrated & Tired

I did a post the other day, which - among other things - explained why I hadn't done one in so long. But, since I hadn't done one in so long, I wanted to put pix in it. For whatever reason, most of my efforts to put pix in it failed, resulting in it only having one picture in it.

This wasn't good enough for me, so I saved it as a draft, intending to come back to it and try to put pix in it again. Eventually, I decided I'd just post it as is(with the one pic in it) and try to put more pix in future posts.

So, I went back to the draft, put a closing paragraph about "more pix in future posts, I hope" in it, and attempted to post it. It wouldn't work, and I ended up deleting the entire post! :(

So, I'm now gonna post a rather short post. Mostly cuz it's so late it's early and I'm a tad buzzed. I don't drink often at all, but I had one drink tonight cuz it was getting late and I wasn't getting tired and I wanted to go to sleep soon. It'll work, that's for sure, lol.

We had our church bowling night tonight. Becky went(bumper) bowling for her first time - and she did GREAT and had a LOT of fun too! She bowled 2 games, a 104 and a 75! I think that's pretty teriffic for a 3-yr-old! I only wish I'd taken our camera! :(

Bowling brings back a lot of memories for me. Being the only sport I've ever tried that I'm actually anywhere-near-close-to GOOD at, I've done it a lot. I even took it in gym in college and have my own ball.

But it's been SO LONG since I've bowled! In fact, I haven't bowled since our last church bowling night, which I think was over a year ago. Which means that I not only didn't do anywhere near as well as I'm capable of doing, bowlingscore-wise, but I'm sure I'll be SORE tomorrow! My thighs are already sore tonight!

There were about 25 people in our group tonight. I didn't get to chat with as many of them as I'd've liked to. I think next time, I'll just bowl 2 games instead of 3, so I have more time to mingle and chat.

I got re-elected as one of the deacons at church this year. I debated whether I wanted to serve in that capacity again or not, for several reasons, but eventually opted to be on the ballot. I got more than half the votes of the members at the annual meeting, so that means I'm an elder again this year.

We're making good progress at church tho, cuz we have an Elder for the first time since Kat & I went there! Kevn Gibson, who was one of the deacons last year, ran as an Elder this time, and got elected to that office. Imo, it was a no-brainer, slam-dunk, cuz I see him as one of the most spiritually mature men in our church, so I'm glad enough others agree with me that he got approved.

Another nice thing is that instead of only 3 deacons(and no elders), our board has 4 deacons(and 1 elder) this year. I think that'll be great for many reasons.

I have two new duties at church now that I didn't have last year. One is reading the announcements in the Sunday morning service. Randy's trying to divy up some of the "chores" and duties that tend to fall to him by default, and this is one of them. I'm ok with it, it just gets a bit "complicated" when Kat's at work and I've got Sarah(and Becky) in church with me. And, of course, I can't do it at all on weeks when I'm the one in the nursery. But, overall, I like it.

I'm also now one of 2 people who verify the "count" on the offering each week. Kevin wanted "coverage" on this, and I fully understand that.

But it's weird knowing(at least to some degree; in the case of those who give by check) how much(and how often) various folks give. Knowing doesn't really bother me, it's just weird. I hope it never becomes "awkward" or effects how I think of or treat anyone.

On that subject, I've been trying to give more thought to how I treat people and/or come across. Like tonight, at bowling, I didn't just want to be there for my own fun and enjoyment, I wanted to reach out to folks. I didn't(get to) do it as much as I might have liked to, but maybe I did more(of it) than I think I did. Or maybe I'm unrealistically expecting myself to have the same amount of "reach-out" opportunities I used to have at Single Vision Bowling Nights as a parent of 2 kids <4? I don't know. But as much as I criticize myself, sometimes, for being(what seems to me as being) too self-oriented, too impatient, etc., I know that even being aware of that possibility and/or wanting to be more others-focused is a good sign in itself.

For those who are wondering why I haven't done a blog entry in SO long, it's mostly cuz my father-in-law, Gary, died this past 1/9. It was VERY sudden and TOTALLY unexpected. It's already had/having some good "fruit", but I still wish I could wake up and find out it's all a dream.

I just didn't want to go on with my blog as tho nothing significant had happened. I kept wanting to do a blog entry that was some type of "tribute" to him. So, I kept putting off doing an entry, till it reached the point where if I didn't do one soon, I might never do another one. Which is why I did the "draft" entry the other day, and it's why I'm doing this one now too. But, even now that I'm writing(what's become) the first entry since Gary's death, it's still not much of a tribute to him. I guess maybe it's enough to note his passing here, say that I wish it hadn't happened, and say that I'll always love and miss him and cherish the fact that I came into Kat's life in time to get to know and spend some time with him.

I think one of the hardest things about Gary's passing has been telling Rebekah about it; explaining it to her as best we can, and trying to help her understand, process, and come to terms with it and all it's ramifications. From what we can tell, she's done an amazingly good job for a kid who just turned 3. She's even shown us pictures "of Heaven" in her kiddie picture Bible and said "I want to go there when I die and be with pop-pop". That's quite "heavvy" and intense for a toddler.

It's getting late, so I'll close here. I don't want to get further frustrated, or stay up excessively longer than this(2:15 AM), so I won't even try to put pix in this entry. I'll do my best to post some soon tho.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Misc. Musings, Thoughts, Rants, etc.

I keep wanting to do a blog entry when I'm away from the computer and house, then usually unable to think of what I wanted to blog about(much less a title for the entry) when I finally get back to the puter. Kinda like thinking of something you want to ask or say to a person, then being unable to remember what that was when you're next with them, lol.

We went to the Dahlmann's for TG. My parents were there too and we got to see their new home. Overall, it was a nice holiday, but I don't think we'll be going back to Greencastle anytime soon.

Among other reasons, Dennis has it in his head that he's GOING TO get the whole family together "sometime in the not-too distant future". Well, unless and until a few things change on _their_ side of things, NO gatherings or "reunions" are gonna include us AND the Brattins. I don't trust him to respect that and not invite them out the same weekend we're invited, so it looks like we won't be going out there again between now and whenever we get a car. Sad, unfortunate, but also true.

Had an interesting experience at 30th St Station while we were in line for our train to Harrisburg. They announced that the train would be leaving late and a guy who was on his way to his folks place for TG wanted to call them and let them know he'd be late but he was ok. So he asked myself and another guy who was in line with us if either one of us would mind letting him use our cellphone to call them. It NEVER occurred to him that one or both of us might NOT have one.

Fortunately, the other guy had one and let him use it, so it all worked out ok. But it was still interesting that he didn't preface his request with "Do either of you have a cellphone?"; that was an assumption, a "given".

Dad gave me our end-of-year check while we were out there for TG. He wanted to give it to me in person cuz he doesn't trust our mailboxes, which is prolly smart. It was nice to get it so early this time, but it was also unsettling to see how fast we spent it once we got back here the week after TG. Most of it went for worthwhile stuff, but it still went too fast. I hope I'm able to figure out why in ways we can apply to seeing our tax return last longer, lol.

Kat's parents are coming out for Christmas weekend. For once, I think that might actually be MORE pleasant and LESS stressful than spending it with my family. Never thought I'd say that, but my whole family's turning out to be peices of work. Except Bill, of course, but he's in California, so he's almost irrelevant, UNfortunately.

One interesting development of TG weekend is that I've actually READ A BOOK since then and have another one on my list. The one I read is "Our Endangered Values", by Jimmy Carter and "Character Is Destiny", by John McCain, is next.

Carter's book was interesting, thought-provoking, informative, worthwhile reading. I don't agree with all of his positions or conclusions and I think at least a few of his premises are faulty(he definitely does NOT have a Christian worldview, tho I don't doubt his salvation), but I'm still glad I read it. I'll prolly read it again, just to refresh my memory about where I think he's got points and where I think he's off. It'd be "interesting" to have Uncle Bob read this book.

I really wonder if anyone else in my family(of origin) are Christians. I already know Dad isn't, but the rest are "mysteries", particularly Mom. I honestly have a much easier time dealing with folks like Rich & Kris, who don't even pretend to be Christians, than I do dealing with folks like my parents and the Dahlmanns, who think they're Christian(s), but I wonder what they base that on.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Moderate Complementarian

As many of you know, Katrina & I are - very definitely(and, some would say, stridently) - complementarian in our theology and worldview. However, we often find that we're more moderate in our complementarianism than many of our online comp. friends and acquaintances.

Now, for those of you who are aware that our complementarian convictions were most of what lead us to leave a church we'd been worshipping and growing at for 1.5 years(several years ago), us - or anyone - describing us as "moderate" complementarians may sound like something you'd care to counterpoint. But, I assure you, among the complementarians we're aware of - most of whom we're aware of online, not in our "real life" - we're moderates.

This moderation shows itself in many ways. For one, we only have 2 kids, and that's all we plan on having. There are many reasons for this decision, most of which are too personal to share here. One is the simple fact that I'm 42, so I'll be 60 when Sarah's 18. That's not the only reason, tho it is a big one.

But, regardless of what our reasons are, this flies in the face of the mainstream comp thought on family size which seems to hold that birth control for comps means "Only 'do it' with your spouse". We've nothing against large families and we know of several large families who are blessings to their parents, their churches, and - seemingly - all they come in contact with. But we're also aware of large families that are anything but good examples, witnesses, or testimonies. All of which proves nothing, other than family size isn't anything moral or immoral in and of itself.

There are many other ways in which this moderation manifests itself in the life and lives of our family. But if I were to elaborate further, this entry might never end! ;)

I've been reading many different complementarian blogs of late. They're not too hard to find, usually, cuz once you find an overtly complementarian blog, you'll usually find links to many others on and/or in it.

They all seem to suffer the same ills:

1) They're all too willing to make sweeping, categorical, binary statements, in which their personal convictions and/or preferences are declared to be God's Will for All Complementarians(if not all Christians, unless they consider "Christian Complementarian" redundant). It's one thing to be "black and white" on topics Scripture's relatively(or blatantly) clear about(1). But it's another thing when Scripture's legitimately vague about a topic(2), or doesn't even address it at all, even in principle(3). Those who make blanket statements about items or topics in category 2(above) bug me and those who do so with topics in category 3 are really tough to take, even in small doses sometimes.

2) They all seem to presume(if not outright @$$ume) that all comps agree(or should) on All Matters Of Faith, Doctrine, & Practice, including many which have little if any direct bearing, link, or relationship to one's complementarian convictions. These include(but are not limited to) assuming that all comps are(or should/eventually will be) 5-point Calvinists and/or assuming that all Comps(or all "mature" comps or all "complete" comps) are cessationists. I'm all but 2 of those.


I'd LUV to find a comp website(blog or other) that didn't make all their conclusions on their personal convictions or preferences out to be declarations for all of comp. Christendom. I'd also LUV to find a comp site(ditto) that didn't presume that all comps agree on the validity(or lack thereof) of the Sign Gifts for today, the "Doctrines of Grace(aka Reformed Theology or Calvinism)", the validity of CCM and/or contemporary praise & worship music, etc.

Maybe I'll have to start such a site? ;)

Sunday, October 30, 2005

The Inconsistent Bloggers Dilemma

I don't do blog entries with any regularity or consistency. Sometimes, I just don't get around to or prioritize blogging, sometimes I can't think of stuff to blog about, etc.

Sometimes, I wait so long to blog("so long" isn't always the same length of time, but anyway...) that by the time I actually sit down and START an entry, there are so many topics and subjects on my mind that I have trouble deciding which ones to write about(first), what title to give that entry/ies, etc. This is one of those times.

I could write about the just-completed baseball season. About how anxious I already am for next season to start, about how much less I enjoy any other sport, about how I want to USE the time I'm now not spending watching baseball games(or going to them) for something WORTHWHILE and not just fritter it away playing poker online or watching hockey on TV or any of a plethora of other incidental time-wasters. Etc.

Or I could write about Halloween and ask the Christians who read this(especially the Christian parents) how they handle Halloween with their family and kids. Katrina and I do NOT want our family observing/celebrating one of the two biggest and most important "holidays" on the WICCA calendar(!), but we're just not yet entirely sure how to handle this with our kids, our unbelieving families(of origin), our wishy-washy Christian friends(remember: The definition of "legalist" is "anyone with more convictions than you"!), etc.

There's an excellent article on the site about Halloween. If I knew how to do links here, I'd link it HERE, but I don't. Wish I did, but I don't. So, please go to their site, look it up, and read it. I won't say I agree with all of it, but I do agree with most of it, and even the parts I disagree with or question are thought-provoking and worthwhile reading.

I could also write about Christmas and ask the Christians who read this(especially the Christian parents) how they handle Santa and all the other non/un-Christian trappings that Christmas in 21st Century America unavoidably - at least seemingly, anyway - comes with. Again, we're not willing participants, but handling the kids questions and objections, the parental and familial interfearence, etc. isn't the easiest thing to handle well.

I could also write about the changes and developments in our girls of late. Sarah's really blossoming and thriving. She's becoming so much more animated, responsive, expressive, etc. It's really neat!

Rebekah constantly amazes us. I told Katrina over a year ago that I honestly think Rebekah's the smartest one of the three of us, and I'm more convinced of that now than I was then.

Among other evidences of this - we _think_ she's already READING. Yes, that's right READING and she's NOT YET THREE! We also think she's started being able to spell things - AND to tell what we're talking about when WE spell something rather than say it.

Sometimes, early in the morning, when she's awake but still in bed, we hear her counting or going thru the alphabet out-loud. Tell me, what "normal" kid entertains/amuses herself THIS way?! :)

We're still hoping and wanting and planning to move closer to Greencastle/Chambersburg asap. It's now looking like it won't be till Fall '07, but it's still what we want and for MANY reasons too. We honestly can't think of one "downside" to doing it or one reason not to. My dad could(and has) suggested some "counterpoints" to what seems to us as a win/win situation(moving out there), but - consider the source.

My parents are moving to an assisted living facility in Chambersburg, Pa. on November 14th. Chip and I are going up there this Saturday to pick up some of my brother's furniture that he's giving us(rather than ship it to California). It'll be my last time in that house - and we moved there when I was 6.5, JUST before I started 1st grade. My parents have lived there for 36 YEARS - and 3 area codes. WOW!

We're going out to Linda's place @Greencastle, Pa. for Thanksgiving(TG) weekend. We're taking Amtrak from Philly to Harrisburg and Dennis is picking us up there. It's ~$135 round trip for the 4 of us; Sarah's free and Becky's 1/2 price. That's really not a bad price, but it's a LOT more than we used to pay to go up to New/East Brunswick!

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Recent Good Sarah Pix

Here's a picture of my mother-in-law, Wanda, holding Sarah. My father-in-law, Gary, took it this weekend, while they were visiting for her Dedication.

Here's a picture of my mom, Jeri(ne), holding Sarah during the service at our church this past Sunday. Maybe it's not the best pic of Sarah, but at least this way you get to see the dress she was Dedicated in.

Here's a picture of Gary holding Sarah at John Harvard's. I'm not sure who took it tho.

Update With Pix!

In the week since my last post, both the Bosox & Yanks have been eliminated from the AL playoffs, there's been a controversial call in an ALCS game, and even the Braves got eliminated(from the NL playoffs) yet again! But NONE of that's what most of this post is about.

This past Sunday was Sarah's Dedication at church! All 4 of her grandparents, an uncle(Dennis), an aunt(Linda), and a cousin(Jennifer) were there, along with various other assorted friends, churchfolks, etc.

Here are some pix:
Here's the Dedication part of the service. The guy near the center is our pastor, Randy. The couple to the right of Katrina are Chip & Chrissie(Christina) Schiavone, the "God-parents" of both Rebekah & Sarah.

Here's a quasi-family portrait, taken at the luncheon after the service. My mom's to the left, holding Rebekah. I'm in the middle. My oldest sister, Linda, is to the right, holding Sarah.

Here's a picture of Rebekah & Sarah @Nifty Fiftys. It was taken earlier in the weekend than Sunday morning's Dedication.

Unfortunately, I don't think we have any close-ups of Sarah from the service. She's really developing into quite a cutie tho(all partiality aside, of course)!