Friday, January 26, 2007

Catching Up

Well, it's been over a month since I've written anything, which is a good thing, since I've been busy both at work and at home. Here's a list of things I've done since the last update:
  • We went to Charleston, SC for Debbie's birthday in November. We stayed at a great Inn, right on the battery (hence the name) that is reputed to be haunted. We had a great time eating, taking a historic homes tour, just walking around.
  • Of course, Hokie football ended with a bang, finishing 10-2 and getting a bid to the Chick-Fil-A bowl. We didn't get to as many games as usual, but still caught 4 home games and the UNC game. I was very pleased with the team, especially the defense, in what was supposed to be a down year.
  • Richmond to see my family for Thanksgiving, including taking my nephew with us to the UVa game in Blacksburg (his first Hokie game).
  • Tacoma (after another short trip to Richmond) to visit Debbie's family for Christmas. Highlights included watching BIL Tim edit BIL Dave's album, visiting the Seattle music experience with BIL Dave, skiing with the clan at Crystal Mountain, and lots of family fun time. Lowlight was getting stuck in the Dallas (see picture of Hampton Inn lobby) in the way back and missing the aforementioned Chick Fil A bowl.
  • We went to the Greensboro Colliseum to see the Hokies (women and mens) play a double header against UNCG. It was a great deal $10/person including a Coke and a hotdog. The Hokies swept, and it was a chance to see Hokies between their upsets of Duke and then #1 UNC.
  • Visit this past weekend to Grand Rapids, MI to Mars Hill Bible Church with BIL Dave and his friend Shawn for a pastor's conference. It was a great experience that Dave and I had been talking about for over a year. I'll have to comment more later.
  • I talked Debbie into letting me buy a new acoustic guitar, and I got a great deal on e-bay on a Takamine EAN-76 that was a refurbed factory second for about a quarter of the retail price. It came Wednesday and it's pretty frickin' sweet. Now I just need to get a new gig, since my last one has kind of petered out.

I've also read a bunch of books (with all the travelling), so I'll give a short synopsis and rating below. All read since the beginning on December!

  • A New Kind of Christian by Brian McLaren: Foundational book for those who struggle with faith in the light of a post modern world. I've been wanting to read it for a long time, and it lived up to expectations. 4 Hokie Birds/5
  • The World is Flat by Thomas Freidman: Very interesting read on Globalization, it's impacts, and how the US should react. It's changed my views on a few things and helped me a bit as I plan my career and next career in a very global company and world. It's the last book left from last year's presents (Thanks, Dad!) 4/5
  • The Language of God by Frances Collins: I highly recommend this for scientists struggling to reconcile science with faith or people who think all Christians have their heads stuck in the sand. Collins is the PI of the Human Genome Project, and a convert from agnosticism/atheism. The first half is a lot of CS Lewis redux, the second part explains science and debunks creationism without evolution and even intelligent design. If you want to have both a Jesus fish and a Darwin fish on your car (I do!), this one is for you! Thanks to Ann for recommending it, and my sister who gave it to me THIS Christmas. 5/5
  • A Good Dog by Jon Katz: Debbie got me this, after I loved the previous Katz book she got me last Christmas. It is a great book, but I warn you very sad. It reminded me so much of Pretzel, who is my "lifetime dog" to Katz' Border Collie Orson. 4/5
  • Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller: Another book that's been on the list for a long time. Extremely funny and brutally honest essays on faith in the postmodern world. It's one of those books that just seems to find a soft spot in the center of your soul. Many times, I just thought, yes, someone finally put what I've been feelings into words. One of my longtime friends (15+ years) said when she read it, she thought I could have been writing it. 5/5
  • A Churchless Faith by Alan Jameison: I really got a lot out of this book. I bought it on Amazon's recommendation, because I have had so many friends leave the church in the last few years and I am often tempted to do the same. It is based on AJ's PhD dissertation (although quite accessible), which is in turn based on over a hundred interviews with church leavers. He presents a model on why people leave the evangelical church, where they go, and offers suggestions on how to create a "leaver-sensitive church". 5/5
  • At Bat: Prayer: Does it make a difference by Philip Yancey. On Deck: Kite Runner (A Novel! How Novel!) by Khaled Hosseini