And now, on to Christmas Eve

It’s GO time for Christmas Eve. Actually, GO time won’t come for another 26 days, but that’s right around the corner. So is the new Baby that’s still in the oven, the one who is soon to have its timer pop out like the Turkey does. This is much to the joy of the family but is alarming because there is no clock counting down on the spice rack. There is no way to say “the turkey/baby will be done by 3pm”. We have no idea. TurkeyBaby could come today or next week. Certainly not both, and possibly not either, but it is a likelihood that must be addressed.

Sometimes (and let me emphasize again – sometimes) I am totally stressed out by what is to be done. Christmas is a mix of happy times and panicky preparations for people in the Music Ministry industry. Not that it’s an industry, because if it was we’d form a union. The nature of the beast is to take the most family-oriented times and also make them the heaviest ministry times. I knew that when I signed up. But right now I’m in a shallow panic over the fact that 1) Christmas is like next week and 2) Turkey/Baby will be here before Christmas, if not on the very day, since the due date is (seriously) December 25. If only we could think of a name…

Fun fact: Jesus wasn’t born on December 25th. Most scholars suggest that He was probably born in late September in either 4 or 5 B.C. Strange but true.

Nevertheless, I press on and continue to nest, just as Emily is doing. I’m thinking through every possible scenario that involves me and thinking, essentially, what will it take for me to be out of the picture? Johnny Maxwell always said that great leaders work themselves out of a job, meaning that we get so good at delegation and empowerment that we are no longer essential to the organization in our current capacity. And a little baby shall put this principle to the test.

Incidentally, it turns out that more Evangelical churches are whooping it up Advent-style, as seen in this USA Today article. Was Bob Webber on to something?

Remote Broadcast (done)

Done and done. That’s all she wrote. We just finished a Black Friday remote broadcast. Mornings at Home was live from Westwood Mall in Jackson, MI — and on one of the busiest shopping days of the year. We gave away tote bags and other paraphernalia with the hopes that we would (1) connect with current listeners and (2) frighten mall security. Both were accomplished with great success.

The whole thing was fun and strange, much like riding on a Ferris wheel that might fall apart. It kept me up at night, not because I was nervous but because I was excited — and didn’t wanna miss the good times. Our remote broadcast was based on a wireless Sprint card, carrying huge amounts of compressed audio back and forth over Ethernet. I still can’t believe it worked.

The next remote is at Jackson Nite-Lights on Thursday — should be good times in that a couple of goons will be staring in people’s car windows, much like a haunted hose at Christmas. What a mix.

ThanksGiving & ThanksReceiving

I sometimes mishandle someone’s thanksgiving. Let me illustrate:

ThankfulPerson: “Adam, thank you for doing this and that” (they are usually more specific)
Me: “How dare you offer thanks to me! That will only thwart my plans for constant humility!” (I am usually less specific).

That’s what we do sometimes. We are thanked for something but we don’t want to receive it, so we try and put it back on them, as if we are teaching them to not thank us. It would be like a nice lady offering me some pie, only for me to push it into their face, saying “sure, everyone likes pie, but I’m trying to come across as a guy who doesn’t need pie, so here ya go”.

The proper response, I think, is to say something like “you’re welcome” or “I am glad to do it, thank YOU for your appreciation”. Maybe we have a hard time saying this because we know deep down that sometimes our motives aren’t pure or that we did a slacker job. Perhaps someone thanking us immediately brings to mind our brokenness, that if they knew who we really were they would be spitting on the ground we walk on. Or maybe it’s just poor self-image. I don’t know.

This is why God has absolutely no problem receiving thanks. When I say “God, thank You for life, not just the fact that I’m breathing the air You created but that I have experienced new life in Christ and that my soul breathes the air of the Holy Spirit”, He doesn’t say “awww, it ain’t no big deal”. He instead says “I love you, that’s why I did it”. The thanks is received. And rightly so.

We get so mad when someone gets the credit (the thanks) for something we did. Yet we hesitate to receive thanks. How strange. When we see ourselves as image bearers of God, that we are loved, that Jesus is the sustainer of the universe and forgiver of sins, and that we will be forever giving thanks to Him, it’s easier to say “you’re welcome”. In the grand scheme of things, we are all little thanksgivers and thanksreceivers under the Big ThanksReceiver, God, who makes this whole thing work out in the first place. And He has no problem receiving our Thanks, because His motives are pure, He is Holy, and credit is abundantly due.

Be thankful to God and to others. Receive thanks from others, and point them to God.

One of these days, I’ll blog again

One of these days, I’ll blog again. And that one of these days is today. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: “Can you add bacon?” I’ve also said “I’ll blog again”.

In the last 10 days, I’ve been all over the map — a wedding, a funeral, even a brief layover in the ER. The wedding was, of course, for my sister. I used to change her diapers (parents made me) and there I was, standing and watching her get ready to tie the knot. Sadly, she had to come back home a few days later to be part of the funeral for our Grandma June, who has spent the last year struggling with her health. Even the most “expected” events are still devastating. The ER thing was just for strep throat, a very aggressive case that caused me to question my own ability to swallow water.

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving which makes today Thanksgiving eve. I have already consumed a piece of Pecan Pie to mark the occasion and will continue to celebrate at sunrise tomorrow. Mmm…turkey oatmeal. I’m suddenly finding myself hoping that such a thing doesn’t actually exist.

As I’m sitting here resting, the TV is showing me “Rosie – LIVE”, which I’m watching purely to see if anything goes horribly wrong (besides the script). Having Alec Baldwin come out to the theme from JC Superstar is weird, and so is watching Alec try to carry Rosie O’Donnell for more than a few seconds. He’s no Messiah but he is going to a chiropractor. Excuse me while I change the channel…

Driver’s License Renewal

I spent the better part of 30 minutes yesterday hanging out at my local Secretary of State office, which wasn’t too bad because this particular branch is located inside of a local shopping mall with a name like “Crossplane Village” or something, a place even more glamorous than it sounds unless you’ve actually been there. This particular mall branch shares a hallway with Armed Forces recruiting center, a coffee shop, a bathtub reglazing display, and a vast array of convincing but still fake trees. “Hot diggidy”, you’re probably thinking, “it’s not like waiting won’t be full of things to do”, to which I agree thanks in part to the coffee place. Also, I’m now seriously considering joining the Marines, but only after reglazing my shower walls.

After a few minutes of roaming I ducked into the office where a really nice lady would soon renew my license for four more years of driving in Michigan, which is certainly a privilege and not a right. This is something they drill into your heads in driver’s ed, just as they teach that I will never ever ever have a personalized license plate that says SAM PLE. That one is taken by someone else, perhaps the “Employee of the Month” at this office. Yes. They would need to rotate license plates every 30 days or so, but they being who they are, I don’t foresee any major complications.

My number (35) came up, and when it did I shouted “Bingo”, in full assurance that I was the first person ever to think of this clever yet out of place zinger. Upon later reflection and in seeing it in print here on RadBlog, I now seriously regret ever shouting something so horrible, so predictable, and so witless. I apologize to the entire governmental system on all levels, and admit that it was a poor SAM PLE of judgment on my part. Ba. Doom. Ching.

I approached the counter of mystery. Most State offices have something like this, where you walk up to a person and they look at you for 0.4 seconds yet could change every second to come by the flick of a pen, rubber stamp or SAM PLE license plate over the head. It is a moment filled with awe, wonder and fear, knowing that I am starting at that moment what could be the hardest test that day, since this guy has the power to take away my privilege, one of many that I enjoy, leaving me to have to get a ride home from the mall by one of those Army Recruiter guys. With that kind of focused time, I’m sure I’d end up signing a triple-service deal that would make it so that my retirement years were spent on a Coast Guard boat off the coast of Marquette. Don’t get me wrong, I think I’d enjoy it, but how much fun would it be on Shore Leave, where every other Coast Guard officer gets in their cars while I have to (sigh) carpool because of my lack of license. NO. Because of my lack of privilege.

This is a big moment, the drivers license renewal. Secretary of State officer Gus has the authority to shut me down or to let me operate a vehicle for another four years. This test will be a thorough screening of my abilities to do many things, including reading the top line. I find myself driving and thinking “boy, it sure is good to be able to read the top line as I’m driving.” Thus the purpose of this test. It also is an opportunity to wow officer Gus with my incredible ability to detect blinking lights that are to my left and right, one time even foreseeing their blinking before they actually blinked, a prophecy that cost me roughly 5 points.

A few moments later, and it’s time for the picture. That’s a test I can pass, as long as it looks like me when we’re done. Sometimes I wonder what would happen if they mixed my picture up with a lady from Rives Junction, which would be awkward for both of us since she is probably not going to look right in my clothes and I need corrective lenses. I ask you: what are the odds that her eyeglass prescription will match mine? I ask you.

But this didn’t happen. I saw the license “proof” on the computer “screen” and said “Thanks”. And then, as if a last moment of exerting control over my privilege, officer Gus cut the corner off of my existing license and stapled a piece of paper to it. He cut the corner right off. It was like an Old Testament ceremony, one which I will not reference here but can be easily answered by a member of the cloth. I am now marked as having a renewal… of my license. And on the way out of the mall, I consider once again the benefits of fake plants.

The Weekend

I just spent the weekend eating wedding food, rehearsing a wedding, taking pictures with people in matching dresses and tuxes, and welcoming people to a wedding ceremony. Can anyone guess what I’ve been up to?
Yes.
That’s right.
I’ve been snorkeling.
By which, I mean, watching my sister’s wedding.

My little sister, 6 years younger than me, my ONLY sibling, my friend, the prettier and skinnier version of Adam, just got married. His name is Andrew “Smith” (I know, totally sounds made up, right?). Andrew and Sarah now make Andrew & Sarah Smith. It makes me a brother-in-law to someone and it makes someone the same to me. It’s a good thing I like this guy.

The kids were both in the wedding, too (our kids, not theirs — since they have none). Lexi and Mac both tore it up, both in the cool “great job” way and also in the more literal sense of the phrase. Emily did an excellent job of keeping a bunch of stuff in line, something she’s very good at and is reason #8,410 that I love her so much. Emily’s parents were there, too, helping to manage the kids as Emily was pinning flowers on people and telling me to go with this tie instead of that one. I was one of three pastors (a trinity, if you will, only less perfect) that officiated the deal. I’m not a Rev. yet, so I have only the authority to say, with complete confidence and power, “I cannot marry you but that guy can.” I really need to get that ordination thing done, though I don’t want to rush it because a leader gave me a hard time about being too eager to get ordained. I was far too passionate about ministry for his taste, which I guess I can take as a compliment. I’m not too sure what to make of it, though, since that guy is now doing something else.

I have derailed.
Back at it.

Anyway, I’m very happy for my sister and her new husband. I’m also excited about a birthday gift that was given to me today. It is a book that I have eyed but never bought for many reasons, some of which include the sheer weight of the thing. If you’ve read this blog before (hi, mom), you know that I have a tendency to end up with heavy books. But this book just seemed far too heavy and appeared to be priced by the pound by the happy shopkeep, thus my lack of transaction for it. The book I refer to, of course, is the Ronald Regan Diaries. It’s a printing of the daily written words of the 40th president during his tenure in the White House. I’m rather excited about reading it because I’ll read the words of a great leader while I work out my triceps. Good deal.

A quick status update:
1. Kids are asleep, having been worn out by being puppets of cute (Malachi handed out thousands of high-fives this weekend, Lexi hugged as many people).
2. Emily is unwinding before the week begins (t-minus 9 hours)
3. I am in the basement, petting a kitten, listening to a podcast and realizing how big a weekend it was, joining Emily in counting down the hours. Most of these hours, however, will go by quickly because I will be asleep.

On Tomorrow’s RadBlog: Using old CD’s to serve berries.

Muppets on the Today Show?

I need to post more about this strange phenomenon on NBC’s Today Show, but it needs time to settle and come out as words. It’s weird.

—Later—
Now that I’ve thought about it, here are my observations of Muppets on NBC’s Today Show:

- Much more fuzz on the Today show than usual
- Matt Lauer being violated by a Security Bear
- Awkward tension between puppets (puppeteers, really) and people
- Awkward tension between what’s normal and what’s whacky
- Local Weatherman freaked out when a puppet throws it to his neck of the woods
- Harry Conick (sp) referring to illegal paraphernalia as at least one explanation as to what is going on
- Statler and Waldorf expose motives that are questionable at best
- I wonder if Jim Henson would approve…

Some Questions:
- Will the Today Show crew end up on an episode of the Muppets?
- Will the TeleTubbies guest host next week?
- Is there anyone reading that thinks that this was a good idea?