Thursday, March 11, 2010

5 current faux pas of Facebook behaviour

1) ... is tired or ... is busy
2) ... makes bland comment on the weather
              (except of course "It's SNOWING" - props to Calvin and Hobbes)
3) ... changes profile pic/status to the "fad of the week" (e.g. lookalikes or urban dictionary) and then leaves it there for WAY more than that week
4) scribbles "happy birthday" on a wall without ANY personalisation or creativity.
              (capital letters or !'s do not count as creativity)
5) ... you gotta see this or tiny.url, it's cool/funny/great, without ANY explanation of what disaster could be behind this anonymous link

Also it is probably not considered appropriate to complain about other people's status in a note .. oops .. sorry

define: faux pas

Friday, February 26, 2010

a quest to find my cardboard tube and soft yellow ball

I was struck by a moment this afternoon.

Here am I checking email, facebook and working away on my laptop screen and large monitor at the same time.  There is Liz in the kitchen eyes glued to her laptop, sorting out our large library of photos.  There is Joel, perfecting tricks on his latest XBox favourite: Tony Hawk's Project 8.

And then there is Ollie.  He has a cardboard poster tube, and he's balancing it, and shooting a small soft yellow ball down it, and giggling, and shouting down it.  Guess what .. right now .. he is having the most fun out of any of us in the household.

My last blog post (such a long time ago!) spoke about one negative result of technology: busy-ness.  This family scene helped me recognize another: joy in simplicity.  As you know, I am certainly not on a mission to stop us all using technology, I love what it gives us, and am constantly in awe of the connection I can have with the world through its use (now as I blog for example!).   I love the learning, the fun, the creativity, the efficiency, the wonder, the ridiculous amount of things I can do with my iPod touch.  I've been *enjoying* using computers ever since they first emerged from laboratories.  However, let us not forget the simple stuff, and the fun we can have away from the technology.  We have a phrase in our household: "screen time".  We often challenge each other to find good activities that do not involve a screen, and I think we're pretty good at it e.g. remember this from Oct 2006.

I hope and pray that we all hold on to the simple things in life that are enjoyable.  I don't know what the metaphorical "tube and ball" is in your life, but let me encourage you this weekend to unplug for a while, and find something truly enjoyable that involves no technology at all.

.. and no .. there is NOT an app for that.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Letter to a teenager

On behalf of all the adults around you I would like to say we're sorry.  It used to be that you would hear us greet each other with a friendly "hi, how are you?" and you'd hear the response "fine".  Yeah, I know, bland and meaningless, but positive and polite. These days you are more likely to hear us inhale deeply, sigh, and use an alternative single word: "tired" or "busy". I notice that you have begun to copy our foolish ways and adopt these responses as your standard too.

You see 30 years ago, some brilliant minds invented computers and held out a promise to us that life would become full of glorious pursuits like hiking, playing music, sailing, skiing, that the computers would take the stress out of our lives, do half our work for us, and vastly increase our quality of life. But just as 150 years ago we managed to lose that ideal in the industrial revolution, so we have failed again. Instead of increasing our quality of life we have managed to cram more and more work into each individual's schedule, have become blackberryiphoned during dinner, walks on the beach and family time. We have built the most impressive individualist empires, have squeezed two or three jobs' worth of work into each person's role, and have almost entirely forgotten how to relax. It simply isn't good enough and we're sorry.

You do not need to be "tired" and "busy" to be valid.

Please help us to encourage you to live lives of balance. Work hard and work well, be dedicated and purpose-filled. Have fun. Exercise. Cut down on your screen time, do not feel the need to be on-line 20 hours a day, do not over-program your life. Be a good friend to those around you. And resist, like I do, the temptation to answer the question "how are you?" with "tired" or "busy".

Friday, September 18, 2009

the need for urban retreat

Last week was tough. September is always insane, and this year I thought I was more ready than usual for the onslaught. Apparently not.

School term shifts dynamics for everyone, even if your only experience is a lengthened commute, life is different. This of course is the real new year for anyone in the northern hemisphere of the developed world, Jan doesn't count. As a youthworker with kids, I get double impact, along with teachers and anyone else that works with school terms. Holiday vibe ends and every project that took back seat rushes forward, every meeting that hasn't quite taken place becomes urgent, every event that needs to be organized is suddenly behind schedule, and every young person in the world is plunged into school mode which rocks them and their parents for at least a couple of weeks, until the new rhythm is found.

We had the added dynamic of Joel starting elementary school and Ollie starting preschool which has had a bigger emotional toll than we expected. Last week the reponsibility of these dynamics overwhelmed me and quite simply put me into meltdown: I wanted to run away. Andy suggested a day of retreat away from it all to hang out with God, get some good perspective and input. As I thought about this and looked at the calendar I realized I had the perfect opportunity to head not out of town, but into it: to head downtown and simply be. I type this in a coffee shop in the centre of this most wonderful of cities; I come here to breathe, to watch, to listen, to allow God to speak into my life, to encourage and envision me, and to dwell.

I know we're all wired differently: some of you totally understand this and some can think of nothing worse. Mother Theresa said "We need to find God, and he cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the friend of silence."  She was and is one of the most inspirational people on the planet, but on that one we disagree.  God for sure is the friend of silence, and Elijah had an amazing "still small voice" moment, but is God really restricted to that?

I love Vancouver deeply, I am so glad and privileged to call this city home, and as I 'randomly' run into the mom of one of the youth I baptized a few weeks ago, as I watch the beautiful young adults of the city cruise around so full of stuff (and yet so devoid of real life), as I listen in on some bizarre conversations around me in the coffee shop, I am spoken to by God, I am recharged and refreshed, envisioned. It's going to be OK.

I know that soon we will all settle down and see September in a better light: it's about more than survival, it's about life in all it's fullness. Some wise guy said it right once in John 10:10, and I'm looking forward to regaining some amazing life, to surf the wave rather than get dragged into the white water.

Sunday, September 06, 2009

Back Lane Battleships (TM)

Today, it rained rather well, Vancouver style, in fact it still is. Joel and I have times when we enjoy the rain. If you've been around this blog for a while, you may remember "Rain never stops play". Well today we invented a brand new 'back lane rain game', to allow mom a little space to exist indoors without us throwing things at her and Ollie.
First we each select a sea (puddle) at least 10ft apart in the back lane. Into our sea we place our battleship (6-8" long, plastic boat, yellow in colour for good visibility). We each stand at least 1 foot behind our sea. The game is to kick a football (full size, English) at each other's boat. One hit=1 point.
Joel won, straight sets, 10-6, 5-2

Friday, September 04, 2009

5 things for which I am an evangelist

evangelist - "bringer of good news"

If you find yourself in meaningful conversation with me anywhere, you are likely to hear me talk about one or many of these things. These are my top five areas of evangelism, and I see them all as truly good news!

There's a good book you should read about this one, I'll happily introduce you to it. There's also a massive population of people involved in the Jesus story, you should chat to them about their stories. Most of all, Jesus is alive and well and would love a chat. If you're reading this and feeling like he's a bit of a stranger, have a chat, you might get a nice surprise.

It's my job and my life, but also a passion. I've been working with teenagers ever since I was one. I love the culture, the language, the zeal for life, the challenges, the potential in each person, the foundational impact we can have on some amazing lives as we live alongside them.

Getting Things Done
This is a difficult one to encapsulate in a short blog post. Imagine a life where you have captured every thought or idea or thing you want to achieve. You organise them, feel like there is way too much to do and you are just way too busy.

OK that was easy to imagine.

Now imagine that at any point in the day you are doing exactly the right thing in that moment, and you know that everything else is just waiting for it's moment to be done or given away, or simply deleted because it really wasn't so important after all. Imagine any interruption to your life, no matter how much of a crisis, does NOT throw you into chaos. Everything can work out OK. And imagine you are able to be WAY more creative, because you're not sinking under piles of TODO lists. Your filing systems and inboxes actually work, your life is not a mess, and you spend almost all your time doing the things you actually want to do.

If you nail the GTD process (Getting Things Done), this is you. It's even quite fun to start and develop!

Switching to macbook was a very very very good decision. I love iPods. I love everything apple I touch (hehe). As you know, anyone who is in apple world tends to be an applevangelist. There is a reason for this people!

Almost every aspect of Google that develops (or is bought out by them!) gets me excited. With one major exception. Google apps, email, docs, calendars, blogger, picasa, youtube. It's a bit worrying that they are getting so into world domination, as competition keeps us all sharp. But, currently, love 'em, they're doing an awesome job.

PS the only truly perfect item on this list is Jesus, the others all have their issues! GTD probably comes a close second on the perfect scale ;)

No doubt some of you will aggressively disagree with my choices, or wonder at the inclusion or exclusion of various items. Feel welcome to comment! I can honestly say that I love each of these things very much, and when you hear me talk about them, it's from that love and passion, not from any sense of obligation, guilt or financial gain. So there you have it.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

on finding space

Dad: "so what were you planning to do after zooming cars in the kitchen?"
Joel: "I was wondering if you and me could do some playing together"
Joel: "I thought it would be good if we played in my bedroom, because there's space to walk in between stuff"

Dad tries to think calm thoughts as he gazes at the playroom floor and understands Joel's quite insightful and logical proposal.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

a few Anvil 9 09 reflections

This morning we took the 2hr boat ride back from Anvil camp 9 09. I had an amazing week being the speaker, in amongst a fantastic crowd of people. Here I try and capture a few reflections on the camp one line at a time.

on chapel:

- Jesus encounters
- freedom
- the curtain has been torn DOWN
- you make all things work together for my good
- God desires partnership: it's not all him, and it's not all us
- you give and take away
- from the inside out

on island life:
- wakeboarding in the only rain of the week at 7am on a deserted sea
- crazy connections across the christian subculture
- food, glorious food
- two peace-filled kayak moments
- an intense hike to the legendary white spot
- obsession with rope swing tricks

on anvil classics:
- the next bell will be ...

on laughter:
- brought to you by: brent kostner, jamilla springs and the incredible betty wordsworth
- the bizarre entertainment of anvil island squares
- horse riding and awkward hugs

on God's creation:
- gazing up into an endless sky of stars
- views of the ocean, playing with the seals
- deers at arms length eating apples
- the most incredible camp finale ever

on praise:
- 9 people met Jesus for the first time, 20ish re-committed their lives, and 9 were baptised

- Anvil Rocks

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day 2008

awoken (7.15)
yule log alight
mary and joseph made it to the stable after a long trek
Jesus joins them in the stable by the tree

first cup of tea
presents by the fire (toys, toys, toys)
toboggan adventure at the park

second cup of tea
snow shovelling in preparation for the big trip for dinner (a whole 20 blocks!)

pics from tom's album: Christmas 2008

play with toys, open more presents
drive towards ian, tracy and judah's house
car stuck with spinning wheels
car rescued by skillful driving and passing help

boys play, good friends good times - ian, tracy, tim, lissa, tom, liz, erin
much dinner with "two kinds of meat"
plum pudding by tim
drive home with only some skidding
car now immobile until thaw!
igloo roof collapsed

third cup of tea
carols from kings
the queen's christmas message

what a wonderfully happy christmas day
we hope and pray you had a great one

congratulations to henry and diane stevens on their little unnamed baby girl born today. top that as a christmas gift.

Monday, December 08, 2008

what's the difference between a small child and a large corporation?

On the face of it, small children and large corporations are opposites in today's world. One is defined by innocence, curiosity, vulnerability, a small voice in a complicated world. The other is a man-made giant machine that tries to define itself by good values of "customer service", "global improvement", "choice" .. but despite good intentions is always driven by an unhealthy worship of money, and is anything but a quiet voice.

I have spent time in my life working for small children and working for large corporations. I believe in and support each of them, but am often at the mercy of both.

How is is that both small children and large corporations have an equal and well-developed ability to make my blood boil with anger? This morning I exploded into shouting and rather ungodly language thanks to the efforts of each.

Peace, joy and goodwill to all men ...

... forgive me.