Friday, May 29, 2009

Go Cubbies!

I am at work WAAAAAY too late today. Why? Duh! I have to blog about my week!! I know you couldn't live your weekend to its fullest without knowing what I did alllll week long.

Well, I'll go backwards, just because I can remember better that way. Yesterday was a long day. I got to get up earlier than normal because I was helping out at an I-Cubs game for our senior high youth work trip.

As one of the big fund raisers, the senior high youth do concessions at the ball park. This was a completely new experience for me, but I have to say, although my legs and feet were KILLING me, I had a great time.

There weren't actually any youth there for this one because school is still going on, but I got to meet some of the youth's parents...people who I've never seen at church. I thought it was great that they were willing to take the day off and come and help out.

I worked at one of the registers. I had heard this was a slightly difficult job because you have to deal with people, but I'd also heard of burning disasters making hot dogs. So, not wanting to be forever tatooed with the shape of a hot dog on my arm, I chose to do the register. It was actually very enjoyable.

There were a lot of kids there...end of the year field trips, so the beer wasn't quite flying out of the tap, but the candy was! It's funny to see all the different kinds of people. I know...what a sheltered thing to say, but like I said, I hadn't worked at a baseball game before. In fact, I'm pretty sure I can count the number of baseball games I can remember going to on one hand.

So, we had to be at the ball park at 10 in the morning and the game started at noon and after clean up was done we didn't leave until 3:15. It was a long day on my feet. I was tired and just wanted to take a nap. Then my wife got home and the cat was hyper and the nap didn't happen. Instead we talked about our days...which I'm sure was much more interesting that sleeping.

After dinner I had a rehearsal with the big jazz band at church. We are doing a song called "Church on Fire." It's a real "hands to Jesus" sort of song. Of course, that won't be happening in the Methodist church, but I hope the congregation at least gets the song. The text is nice...about sharing love and showing your burning love for God. Plus, Sunday is Pentecost. What better day to talk about fire?

The rehearsal was a little rough. I'm nervous for Sunday. I pretty much lost my voice screaming over the playing to try and keep a tempo going. I'm sure it will work out and be fine. But, who knows!

As I blogged before, Wednesday night I had my first youth choir rehearsal. I had mixed feelings about the outcome. I had two girls, both sang alto. I was excited because two is more than zero, but I was disappointed because it was just two.


I know of two boys that will be joining this next week that just couldn't be there last week, so that will give us four. I'm hoping to send out a note with a little bribery for coming to the next rehearsal. Hopefully they will see that it is pretty darn fun and stay for the next rehearsals.

As for "Imagine"... I was appaled to find out that the two girls that were there had never heard the song. I had built the whole repertoire around this song!! I couldn't belive it. But, they did like "What A Wonderful World" and even knew that it was from "Good Morning, Vietnam." I've never actually seen that movie. Some of the things these kids don't know confuses me...but that's an issue I don't have the brain power to figure out.

Monday and Tuesday I had the days off. They were very restful and Monday, as I've blogged before, was a nice day to spend with my wife. I did go into work on Tuesday because I had to send about 50 emails. Maybe that's an exageration, but not by many!

This weekend looks like it's going to be the nicest weather we've had all year. I'm excited to spend a lot of time outside and inside. I have many hours of "Hello Dolly" rehearsals coming up. I'm looking forward to being about to coach singers and direct chorus that isn't at church.

Speaking of, I forgot to mention that last Sunday was my first Summer Choir. This church has never had a choir during the summer, but I thought as a recruiting tool, I would start one. I had some regulars, and some poeple who used to be in choir, but couldn't do it this year, and some people who weren't in choir at all. Total, I think I had 18-20 people singing. We did a super easy arrangement of "He Is Exalted" and it was quite successful.

Things are happening and a lot of those things happened this week. I hope this is a forecast for how the summer will be. I'm excited to learn more and do more. I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy the nice weather!

Question: What is something that you've done recently that was new to you?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


So, I'm definitely putting off work by blogging today. But isn't that what this whole crazy thing is all about?! Oh, yeah, and sharing info about yourself....and I guess getting replies so you can learn about others.

Well, whatever. I'm still putting off work.

I have a new program starting tonight. At least I hope it starts tonight. I am starting a youth choir at my church. It was really what I was hired to do, and it's only taken me a year to get around to doing it!

I'm really excited to have some high school age kids singing in my company. It's what I really went to school to do. So, it seems more exciting when I get to use my knowledge that I'm now paying a small mortgage for and will be for the next 80 years.

The centerpiece of the songs I've picked out for the choir is "Imagine." That old John Lennon song just kept coming back to me whenever I would think of the youth choir. I really like the words and I think they are relevant to what's going on in culture and in the world today. I think it's also a message that the youth could really sell when singing.

To quote: "Imagine no possesions. I wonder if you can. No need for greed or hunger, a brotherhood of man." I think those two phrases are great. First, because I work in a church in a very affluent area. West Des Moines is where the money is. Johnston is where there's even more. I have kids from both cities coming here. I think it's important to remind ourselves that giving things up is really worth it.

Especially if giving "things" up would cure two things: greed and hunger.

A lot of the service projects that my church does have to do with hunger. I've never been more aware of hunger than I am now, working here. We give to the food pantry with monthly selected items. For instance, this month is spaghetti and sauce. We raise countless dollars for food banks around our area. We took part this year in a 3-month project called "We Can" sponsored by DMARC (the Des Moines Area Religious Council).

This was a challenge for many churches in our area to produce 29,000 cans of food all together. Why 29,000? Because the World Health Organization said in 2008, that's how many children die each day of hunger.

The congregation here raised 2,000. There was a moment the week before the final celebration of food that the head of this project thought they weren't going to raise enough cans. They exceeded their goal and had 31,000 food items donated!

I've definitely left my topic of youth choir, but I think that the youth choir is a great way to instill those social justice topics and interfaith alliances that we promote at Walnut Hills so much. Back on topic, I hope that the youth choir goes well tonight. Even if there are two kids, I am hoping to still keep it going. Wish me luck!

Question: What have you given up lately for charity?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Oprah Strikes Again

So after watching an episode of Oprah the other week I got it into my head that my wife and I should try a new thing. I have no idea what the episode was about. Perhaps about saving the planet or something, but really I can't remember.

There was a man on Oprah, through Skype, which she now uses for everything, saying that he and his family have a Meatless Monday. This isn't to lose weight or to become healthier, although they apparently have. It's to make them away of all the food they eat that has meat in it.

So, after a few weeks of thinking about it, I thought, "We could do a meatless Monday thing" and by jove...yesterday we did it. We had Boca burgers for lunch and spaghetti without meat in it for dinner. I was so proud of us. We also went to the Des Moines Botanical Garden and played two rounds of mini golf.

I felt like the latest Nutrigrain commercial: if you haven't seen it, here's a brief description: it shows a person going through their day, eating whatever and drinking soda and going to bed late at night. Until one day they decide (you never see the person's face, only their hands) to have a Nutrigrain bar and their whole day is magically better. They drink more water and go to bed at a better time. They even brush their teeth before turning in.

I think because we were thinking about having a Meatless Monday, then we made better, more active choices throughout the day.

Unfortunately, Meatless Monday wasn't the best thing ever. I wouldn't have leaked it to VH1 for "Best Week Ever" nor would I put this on the top 10 smartest things I've ever done. I added up my calories at the end of the day to see if not eating meat was all that and a bag of chips.


Yep...that's my calorie count for Meatless Monday. That's not rounding. That's the actual number of calories I took in yesterday. Then it hit me like a frozen bean patty...I need to not only cut out meat on Mondays, but also some serious calories. I mean, it takes a lot to keep up this physique...and I definitely shouldn't be proud of that.

If I were rippling and thin, and THAT took a lot to keep up THAT physique...I'd be proud, but I'm not, so I'm not. Oh well. I'll keep trying.

Question: What do you do to easily cut calories?