Friday, August 31, 2007
It wasn't crowded, especially considering it was the Friday before Labor Day. But, it was expensive. $55 is about double what we normally pay for 18. I'm sure after that birdie on the last hole though Jon thought it was well worth every penny.
Monday, August 27, 2007
It took longer than I remembered (maybe that's why I hadn't made it in so long). I have modified the recipe from the original (of course). The stuffing is spinach, basil, freshly grated nutmeg, egg white and feta cheese. I flatten the breasts with a mallet and roll the stuffing in them. Then they get floured, egg washed and dipped in Panko breadcrumbs with romano cheese. Popped into the freezer to firm up (not freeze), then pan fried in butter. Finished in the oven. Kayla loved it. Shayna wanted more cheese and less spinach. But, she enjoyed it, too. Ty made a great rice dish (kind of like risotto) to go along with it. I'll have to get that dish into our cook book.
The picture would have been better had I not had the dirty knife and fork there (from cutting Shayna's up for her). But, it's good enough, I guess.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
Ty and I went over to help out with the entertainment of the children. There was a family of 3 boys and a little girl and a single mother who had an 8 month old (maybe the most beautiful baby I've ever seen- sorry Shayna and Kayla). We drew pictures with kids. Gregg and I let the two older boys play with our digital cameras (maybe their first time?). Gregg obviously has more faith than I do because I'm sure his camera cost about 5 times what mine cost and probably weighs 10 times as much. We fed them ice cream cones and put in "Finding Nemo", although no one watched it. I made paper airplanes which turned out to be a big hit.
I had trouble picking a photo to represent the set. So, I chose this one. But, if you want to see that beautiful baby, click here.
Monday, August 20, 2007
I, of course, immediately unpacked it and got to work. A guy had posted how he had trouble with the Migration Assistant, which is an unbelievably cool program Apple ships with every new machine. Apple assumes you have already had a Mac and want to transfer your years worth of data and programs using something faster than burning to CDs. The Migration Assistant allows you to set up your old Mac (via Firewire) as a big old hard drive mounted to the new Mac. Then, Migration Assistant asks if you want to transfer settings (network, user accounts, etc.), programs, data or a combination. I gave Migration Assistant a shot (actually two or three). But, I had problems, too. It turned out that 2 files in my iTunes library of almost 3,000 songs were not able to transfer. The problem though is Migration Assistant doesn't tell you what didn't transfer or why. It just runs until it hits a problem and then hangs (and hangs and hangs). After a couple of attempts at about 2 hours each before killing the process, I finally decided to make the migration manually. It took a little longer. But, in hindsight, I recommend it. I found a great post in Apple's support database that told me EXACTLY what to do. I've found the best support from Apple doesn't come from Apple Care (although, relatively speaking, they're pretty good). It comes from other Mac users. There are so many people willing to help you out on the occasions where you just can't figure things out. Since most Apple applications store their data and programs in one of three places (preferences folder, applications folder or documents folder), many applications can be moved without even reinstalling them. By selecting only the new applications and preferences I wanted on my new machine, I ended up with an almost clean install.
There were a couple of little hiccups. My disk for Adobe Illustrator got jammed in the new slot drive of the iMac. I realize while these slot drives are cool, they're not exactly durable. When I was on the phone with Apple care I was told don't put any disk in you even think might be funky. One guy (I talked to a couple that afternoon) told me he wouldn't even put in a disk with a paper label at all. I won't again. After going for a few hours thinking I was going to be making a trip to the repair shop (and about 100 searches on Google to avoid it), I found a solution that worked. I shut down the machine. Left it for 10 minutes, then rebooted. Apparently the CD cooled enough to be ejected and all was right with the world again. I also had a minor glitch with my SOHO Notes application. All my Notes were there but the folders weren't showing them. If I clicked "Open All", they all miraculously popped up. Once again, while waiting for support to get back to me with an answer, I figured it out on my own. I threw away the old preferences file and Voila!, presto-magico, I was back in business. BTW, I was able to get Illustrator reinstalled simply by copying the preferences file and the Illustrator files from the old machine over the Firewire.
Another glitch I ran into which I blame Belkin for is my two-port USB switch I use to share my printer between the Mac and the PC isn't supported on Intel based Macs. Poppycock! First of all the software for the Mac was always pretty lame. On the PC, I could click on the icon and switch. On the Mac I had to hit some combination of control and an Fn key that I could never remember. So, I'd have to hit control and F9 or F10 to get it to switch. So, today, I'm the proud owner of a new Iogear switch (GUB201 in case you need to know). It was more expensive. But, it has an option to switch manually (which I actually like better). Since Belkin decided to not support my new Intel Mac with their software only controlled switch, it became useless to me. So, this time I looked for a switch I could switch manually. But, just like Belkin, Iogear does give us Mac users a slightly less rich experience. The switch came with software where I can switch from the desktop on my PC. But, there is no software option for the Mac. The good news though is, unlike Belkin, I don't have to switch from the Mac. I can take or give control from the PC. But, in all likelihood, I'll switch manually anyway as it's even easier than opening up the software.
I'd say the migration took a couple of days. For those two days, I was running on both iMacs and the PC. I was up and running pretty much full speed by Thursday. I didn't run into the switch issue until over the weekend (I was printing through the Belkin switch fine from the Mac, the problem was if I had ever switched it to the PC, I wouldn't have been able to switch it back). The new Mac is lightning fast and the 80 GB of data I had on my old machine is sitting comfortably on the 500 GB drive. I got a 500 GB USB 2.0 drive from Amazon for less than $120 for a total of a terabyte on my desktop. (I still remember the first day I ever heard that word when I was selling mainframe DASD). The new iMac is, oh I don't know, about 8 times faster than the old one, twice the RAM, six times the disk space and 3" more diagonally (with a brighter, sharper display) for the same price I paid for the old one 5 years ago (roughly $2K delivered with 3 years of Apple Care).
Thursday, August 16, 2007
We continued our discussion of the feminine image of G-d. This is one of the things I really like about Nexus, it's about discussion rather than just a download of a bunch of things we have to believe. Actually, I find most sermons quite boring (except for Gregg's -of course). After 40 years of hearing canned speeches, I feel like I've pretty much heard them all. At Nexus, I feel like I can actually voice my opinion and hear honest opinions from other people rather. That never gets old. I think Karl called our process "collective exploration", which I've tweaked to "collaborative exploration". In other small groups I've led in the past, I could tell when I asked a question people were searching their brains, trying to find the "right" answer. At Nexus, I don't get that feeling. We're exploring together, learning from each other and are open to listening even to the "wrong" answers.
Monday, August 13, 2007
About 1:30 this morning, Ty heard someone ring the doorbell. She also said she heard someone knock at the door and pound on the garage. But, she thought she might just have been dreaming. In fact, when she woke up this morning she said "I had the worst dream last night. But, maybe it wasn't a dream." She got up and looked out of the girls' window and saw a car parked on the street (pretty unusual in itself where we live). Unfortunately though, she did not wake me. So, I knew nothing until this morning. When I went downstairs and looked out the front door, I saw potting soil on the porch. When I opened the door, I found our potted plant sitting upright on the porch. But, it had been thrown against the door. As I looked down to the sidewalk, I found a half full half gallon of Southern Comfort and a pair of girl's flip flops. Walking around to the side of the house, I found an undershirt and noticed the plant had also been thrown against the garage door.
I checked for signs of vandalism. But, everything else looked in tact. I wasn't going to give it too much more thought. I figured it was just some kids out getting drunk and was glad it wasn't worse. But, then when I went into the back yard, I found a bra and panties and noticed the ornamental grass had been ripped off, in what could be a sign of some sort of struggle. I decided to call the police.
When I described what we had found to the police, they seemed very unconcerned. The guy on the phone asked "Do you want to file a report or did you just want to let us know about it?" I said "I think I should file a report." They sent an officer out who was equally unconcerned. He took our statement, walked around with us and then asked where our trash can was. I asked him why he wanted to know this. He had assumed the clothing came from our trash can. I told him it had not (that's why we called, we thought a girl might have been in trouble). He went back to his car, filled out the report, had Ty sign it and got ready to leave. He said the odds of catching whoever did this were "slim to none" (I think those were his words). My thought was "Yes, the odds are exactly zero if you don't even try.". I'm not expecting them to send out Columbo over a potted plant. If that had been the only thing or even that and the alcohol, I wouldn't even have called. But, it looks to me like something may have happened here that might later be reported as a crime. I asked him if he was going to take the "evidence" with him. He told us to just throw it away.
I'm sitting here stunned. There have been so many stories in Cincinnati of people not willing to get involved after crimes have been committed. But, in this small incident, we tried to do what we thought was the right thing and got about zero response out of the police. More than likely what happened was just some kids out having a "good time". Maybe the underwear left in the yard was just a prank to make it look like something happened. But, I'm amazed the police didn't even investigate a little and did not even take the evidence with them in case someone reports something later on.
The pictures I took (the police didn't take any) are here.
Sunday, August 12, 2007
I marinated the chickens in a blend of spices, orange juice and soy sauce overnight then put them on the rotisserie and threw some hickory chips in for good measure. Less than 2 hours later, we had smoked chicken. Yum yum.
Friday, August 10, 2007
There's an old song called "He Lives". Mike Williams brought it up in one of his sermons at the Grace Gathering last week. At least, I assume this is the song he was talking about. Part of the lyrics are:
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), Christ Jesus lives today!Don't tell anybody. But, when I was growing up, I thought that song was a bunch of hooey. I know He lives because He lives within my heart? No, I could know He lives if I could see Him. I could know He lives if I could touch Him. And, later, I might say I know He lives because I can see His handiwork in the world. But, the last way I would know He lives is because He lives within my heart. But, I've slowly come around to this concept that G-d lives within my heart and that is where I can find Her. Once I stopped looking (and listening for G-d) so much outside of myself and started looking and listening inside, my doubts about G-d's existence and (amazingly) Her goodness began to melt away. That and giving up my false, preconceived notions about what I expected G-d to be like (not that I've completely given them up. It's just now I know they're false preconceived notions). J.B. Phillips "Your God Is Too Small" is a great little book I recommend to doubting Thomases. It's now available in PDF format for free. Click on the link above or do a Google search to find it. When I begin to doubt G-d now, I really don't doubt the existence of G-d as much as I doubt my conception of G-d.
He walks with me and talks with me along life's narrow way.
He lives (He lives), He lives (He lives), salvation to impart!
You ask me how I know He lives? He lives within my heart.
It's abundantly clear to me that because I am, G-d exists. Because I am a personal, spiritual, human being, there is something greater than I, a First Cause, at a minimum. There is something inside of me that whispers and sometimes shouts the existence of G-d. Buddhists call this something Buddha Nature (although they don't talk about G-d). Christians might refer to it as the Holy Spirit. New-Agey type Christians (which I might be accused of being) refer to it as Christ Consciousness. But, I believe this spirit is in each and every human being (although it's sometimes so deeply buried by junk it's hard to find even for the person possessing it). Someone asked me yesterday if I believe I have a spirit inside of me or if the very Spirit of G-d is in me. Tough question. I can't honestly say. But, there is something and this something lets me know that G-d does exist. Now, does the big old White man on the throne with the beard and the furrowed brow exist? No. But. Sum, ergo Deus est is a proof of the existence of G-d that works for me.
Dear Brian--I read your blog with great interest and posted a reply but I'm not sure it "took." So I thought I'd send you what I wrote:
* * *
I greatly enjoyed your insightful and fascinating blog--so beautifully written, moving and honest--but I was struck by one statement. You wrote:
"I might get this wrong because I haven't followed this whole thing. But, I think that was pretty significant because I think the Carr family was kind of a roadblock to the black side of the family (the Hemings) being accepted as descendants of Thomas Jefferson."
Actually, the exact opposite is true. The Carrs themselves have a family association that includes members of both African and European descent. The "Virginia Carrs" have long recognized that the "Ohio Carrs" are descended from Samuel Carr and Judith Barnett, and both sides have embraced their blended ancestry. In fact, the mutual black-white acceptance of the Carr family has stood in stark contrast to the Monticello Association's refusal to acknowledge their Hemings cousins. Additionally, the M.A., which was formed about 80 years ago to maintain the Jefferson graveyard, has refused to grant the Carrs membership in the Association, even though the graveyard was created for Dabney Carr, Jefferson's best friend and brother-in-law, and the first person buried there. The Carrs have long been "inclusive" folks, and the (white) Jeffersons would do well to emulate them.
Thanks for the correction. As I said, I'm pretty new to this whole thing. I apologize for the mistake and any offense it may have caused.
Oh...one more thing...it was Janet Carr and Linda Carr-Kraft, both (white) Virgina Carrs, who began the "We Are Family" song...which has become the theme song for gatherings of the "greater" Carr/Jefferson/Hemings families. It never fails to move me, also. Linda says we need to write more verses! Care to contribute?Another bad assumption on my part.
You are a fine writer, Brian. I look forward to reading more of your pieces.
Best wishes always,
Debbie, thanks for taking the time to read my piece and comment on it. And, thanks for the compliment. I also appreciate your setting the record straight. I guess if I ever become a newspaper reporter, I'll have to hire a fact checker. ;-)
Sunday, August 5, 2007
I had a rare opportunity to meet some fellow on-line seekers face-to-face this weekend. I went over to the booming metropolis of Straughn, IN to meet my blogging buddies of a couple of years, Bruce and Geo. Unfortunately, Steve couldn't make the gathering. I also had the opportunity to meet and listen to and meet Mike Williams in person. The Grace Gathering 2007 was a special time and I want to thank Cliff, Bruce, Geo and Steve for their sacrifice (in more ways than one) in putting it together.
Cliff, Steve, Bruce and George have combined their blogging efforts into Bold Grace now. The day I attended (Saturday), Mike was speaking on the difference between Redemption and Salvation. If you think they're one in the same, you owe it to yourself to listen to this talk. BTW, a bit of a spoiler... Redemption is something we all have and that G-d has accomplished (past tense) on His own with no help from man. Salvation is something we all need (and it's not a one time thing). Mike spoke from Romans Chapter 10 (and Chapter 5) and did a wonderful job of breaking it down over the period of about an hour and a half. Friday, Mike spoke about his discovery that G-d is not angry with us. The talks from the weekend are available at Bold Grace- here.
These guys took me under their collective wing a couple of years back when I first started exploring universalism (a word they hate and I'll explain that later). I can't remember how I found them or they found me. But, they turned me on to Mike Williams who is a gifted preacher and Bible scholar who happens to believe that Jesus' work on the cross is finished and He accomplished the task of saving everyone. One thing that is interesting about these guys though is they shun any attempt at labeling them. So, when I mentioned universalism, they kind of bristled a little. Their impression is that Universalists believe in a temporary "hell" or period of punishment. That is somewhat true. Many Universalists do believe in a period of correction (burning away of the dross if you will). But, not all. See my post here for what my thoughts on what a Universalist is. IMO, these guys are Universalists.
click on the picture to have the opportunity to see the full set on Flickr.
Anyway, I digress, back to the meeting. I walked in as they were having a sharing time. What was funny is I saw Mike Williams sitting in the front row as I walked in and the guy speaking was addressing him. But, I had this picture in my mind of Mike as an older guy, a little guy (for some reason his voice on the recordings I had heard sounded like a little guy) and kind of conservative looking. But, Mike is a big, shaved bald guy who was wearing cowboy boots. He's well-built and an imposing figure. Kind of like an NFL tight end.
Mike's speaking voice though is not intimidating at all and his knowledge of the Bible is amazing. What also comes across in his speaking is his absolute love and reverence for scripture and his total commitment to Jesus. That is one thing that could not be any clearer when you listen to Mike. As he was speaking I was reminded of a commenter here a couple of days ago who implied those who believe Jesus will save all are ignoring scripture. No one could make that accusation of Mike. Mike also made it very clear both days that he spoke that he believes in Jesus and the Gospel story literally (from the virgin birth through the resurrection and ascension). Both days he spoke, he took time out from un-teaching the distortion of the gospel most of us have heard all our lives to make a declaration of his faith. It was a very detailed declaration and necessary because if you tell people you don't have to believe Jesus saved you to be saved by Jesus, they automatically think you must be some kind of lunatic or worse, a liberal. Mike's websites are Gospel Revolution and Gospel Logic. Many of his talks are archived there.
Something I found fascinating about the weekend is how we have come to the same conclusions via different paths. I overheard Mike telling some people after his sermon that he feels he does not have a choice in what he believes concerning God. Mike trusts in scripture, it sounds like 100%. Mike has a very high view of scripture. I heard him say if God did want to condemn people to eternal torment, he's God. Certainly He could do it. I guess I agree with that. But, what I don't agree with is that if scripture did clearly say God was going to do such a thing, I still wouldn't believe it. I'd have to toss out the scriptures. I believe scripture because I believe it reveals the true heart of God. But, I don't believe scripture because it says I should believe it. It was a relief for me when I found out that scripture did not say what I had been taught it said all those years, because I was at the point where I was just about to reject scripture and Christianity as nonsensical and pointless. I could never love the kind of God that was supposedly revealed in scripture (something else Mike and I agree on). One thing Mike said that really jumped out at me was something to the effect of:
"The day your heart is kinder than your doctrine, rest assured it's not your heart that is wrong."
I agree with Mike 100% on what he said there. I don't take scripture as literally as Mike. I don't even attempt to reconcile everything in the Hebrew Scriptures with what we know about G-d today (or think we know anyway). I believe in progressive revelation. Paul said we see through a glass darkly. I believe that has always been the case and that the glass is getting a little more clear (even though it's still darkly). I believe the UCC motto that "God is still speaking..." and I think we're slowly, slowly hearing. But, what is really cool is that while we may not agree on the mechanics of how we got here, we do agree that God is bigger than Churchianity teaches and that he will (or has) redeem every last one.
George, Cliff, Steve and Bruce have a thing of telling each other how perfect they are. I guess they are talking about being perfectly righteous because of God's grace. But, I have to admit it makes me a little uncomfortable. I'm more in line with Martin Zender's view that we are Flawed By Design. I'm perfect for what I was designed to be. But, I still have quite a ways to go to be the person I am capable of being. However, I think their reminder of their perfection is a far cry better than the condemnation of the traditional teaching that says we are all still just miserable sinners.
Anyway, the Grace Gathering was a very special time. I am hopeful that as George and Bruce are saying this is just the beginning of a revolution. I'm certainly ready to do my part to make sure that happens. Where do I sign up?