Rollerskate Parenting

I’m thinking about change and letting go.  My children are getting big.  I’m changing into a father of big children, too.  Last night Martha & I took to the kids rollerskating as part of a fundraiser for their school.  It was awesome.  Helena, who is now 8, was quite the skater.  She also wanted to go off by herself skating around.

For me this was both pride-inspiring (what an independent and talented kid!), scary (if she falls and gets her fingers rolled over I wont be there to help her out), and a little lonely (Why doesn’t my kid want to do the couples skate with me all night?  Am I not cool enough to hang with her friends from school or something?).

Martha was with Lily and I was watching Helena go around the rink at least a dozen times, sometimes with friends, but often by herself.  I had a different kind of fun at that point.  My child felt free enough to try things out.  She could ask for what she wanted.  It had nothing to do with me not being cool or being a burdon to her…she was doing what she was created to do.  To grow up, bit by bit.

As our network expands, especially as we get discerning our next pastor and location for church plant, I have some of the same feelings.  I hope that we can keep the heart of our calling through the direction of the Holy Spirit.  I hope that the new cells and cell leaders carry on that DNA. I hope we can do what we were created to do as cells and congregations…grow and multiply.

I’m excited not only that new stuff is happening, but that it is beyond my ability to be so close to it all.  I’m ready to change, too.  I have to learn a new kind of trust, a new kind of faith.  With it is coming a new kind of fulfillment.

kicking Lent old schol

I think I have been influenced by some ideas floating around that seem to be more and more common.  Some of my friends seem to be losing “faith battles”, some returning to destructive lifestyles, some grow harder spiritual exteriors but are still really soft in the middle.  I know a lot of people that get bogged down in sort of “extra curricular” spiritual activities.  I feel a need for maturing.  I’m glad to begin Lent.  I need to get old school about now.  I’m thinking about every Rocky movie when he gets down to business.

I miss apollo.  He’s such a great image in the training about how the Holy Spirit can work.

I want to let some of my own “extra” stuff go.  Anyone else want to get old school and spend time getting a good prayer discipline going?  Eating better?  Exercising?  Sleeping in your own bed alone?  Spending less time/money on things that don’t deserve it?  Kicking habits?  Telling the truth?  Taking ourselves out of the center of our spirituality?

Wanna let some stuff burn tonight at the vigil?

Law & Disorder in where?

Jenni got me watching this BBC special hosted by Louis Theroux called Law & Disorder in Philadelphia.  Below is the first of 6 parts that you can view on youtube, or on Jenni’s blog (link above).

I can’t help but feel a lot of things while watching.  It’s pretty good in the sense that I wanted to continue once I started.  Pretty brutal in that it portrays a dangerous and seemingly unsolvable cycle of poverty in violence.

If you live around here you might recognize some of the sights (maybe even people).   People around the neighborhood do act like this sometimes (and so do the cops), but the sensationalization bugs me.  People are going to look even crazier when they have such a narrow-viewed interrogater looking at violence in the city at one level.  It’s almost to say “this is why our city sucks” or “be afraid to live here because these people are on the loose.”

Well, our city does kind of suck sometimes.  I’d like to dig a bit further at some causes of poverty, Louis.  I’d like to explore why we’re not working together to keep illegal guns off the street.   I’d like to consider the American way of life that leads the “haves” to run to a place of relative safety, sometimes at the expense of the “have nots”.  I’d like some more options for people who get stuck in the ruts of their surroundings.

I guess it would be a boring movie to explore corporate profit on the street drug industry, sale of illegal handguns, letting neighborhoods languish before buying them up, etc.  At least boring in the sense that you don’t have a person with a crack addiction yelling into the camera to reinforce a lot of stereotypes.

The culture of violence or the cycle of poverty are not easily explained or solved.  We really do need Jesus in Philadelphia.

me 3.0

my brother Jeffrey (funniest of the 4 of us) made a couple cracks to me about 3.0 today.  He is not only funny, he’s right.  I’ve been getting ready for the next version of me, today is a good day to be feeling it.   I feel good.

Lots happening these days.  Last week I was in Michigan with psalters most of the time.  Next week FN Stakeholders meeting, more music, CoH Camden, saying farewell to my boy Clarence.  So much and so awesome.

Maybe different looks like:

1.  I cried while watching A Little Princess with my family last night.

2.  finishing the rehab at 2007 Frankford

3.  starting my Kodo training

4.  both kids will want to go to Phillies day games


2009 Hot Christmas Tunage

We’ve eaten the pears

Now we’re cutting down the trees.

Poor, little partridge.

I’m grateful to have so many friends that pitch in each year to find the jams to soundtrack our Advent season.  Last year for me there was a lot of Johnny Cash, Low, John Fahey, and even some Christmas In the Stars.

Two albums this year have risen to prominence.  The first is Where Will You Be Christmas Day? by Dust to Digital (2004).   In a similar style and spirit of Goodbye, Babylon, it is remastered original recordings from the early 20th Century.   It’s a pretty wide sample of different peoples in the US during that era and is pretty brilliant.

The other, called Excelsis Vol. 1: A Dark Noel.  It’s pretty smooth, ambient and on the gothic side of things.  Great mixing of traditional European chanting and acoustic instruments with keyboards and samples.

(discreet hi-fives to adam and scott!)

What are you listening to this year?

chillaxin in the Mohawk Valley

I love Philadelphia.  I also love vacation, and it feels like it doesn’t happen all that often-we have a lot to do.  Wednesday night we rolled up to my mom’s house in the center of New York State,  Thurs morning drove to my aunt’s house outside of Buffalo, chilled for a few hours and then drove back.  That made me tired.

Friday was much kicking it and not buying stuff.  We got to play late night Rock Band with my long-time amigo Nick and his wonderful wife Ann.  And we took some rock-out shots (set here) to commemorate. For good or for ill, on RB1 there is a default character called Moosejaw Bordeau (mostly known as Amber Alert, though) who some say bears a resemblance to someone we know.  Not sure who, but he’s a great lookin guy-for a video game.

amber alert

amber alert

RB1 is better than karaoke

Today my brother Buddy had a basketball scrimmage-this is his senior year.  He dominated-so good to see him rip it up.  Me and the kiddos walked back from the school through the woods that I used to play in.  Their minds are always blown by the woods.  City slickers.  We had dinner with my old man and then rocked out on Lazer Tag.  No doubt an incredible time (set here-why not?).

Hanging with more old friends tommorow, (and the Bills are on TV here!!!) playing some b-ball ourselves, maybe the sacred Baseball Hall of Fame on Monday-it’s only like 40min from my mom’s house.

Things Better Left Unsaid #247: talking to kids about torture at the dinner table

So last night we’re having dinner (me, MG, Jay, and my 2 daughters Helena-7 and Lily-4) and Martha’s cell comes up.  She is thinking about what to talk about next week (Tues night in Fishtown at Lindsay Mae’s house) since they are doing a sort of short series on world events and justice issues.  She brainstorms Guantanamo Bay.

That’s where I come in.

Things Better Left Unsaid #247:  Talking to kids about torture at the dinner table.

JGrace:  “yeah, that’s a good one.  where are you going with it?”

MG:  “learning more about what goes on there and why.  It’s been in the news lately.”

JGrace:  “yeah, isn’t Bush going to pardon all those who have anything to do with organizing it?  Including himself?”

MG:  “that’d be a good idea.”

JGrace:  “yeah.  the people behind Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are connected.  We have that book upstairs that might be helpful.  It talks about water boarding and stuff.  You know [children really interested at this point], they strap a dude down and throw a towel over his face and then start…

MG: [interrupting] uuhhhhhh…maybe not right now?”


yeah.  good call, honey.   but that El-P video for Smithereens is pretty good.

November in full swing

We actually got to play flag football last night.  The conditions were glorious (55 degrees, a little bit muddy) and we had 6 on 6.  So good.  I forgot to bring my camera so there are no action shots, although Timmy Grant got a permit for 5th and Master Friday nights until Feb or something.  So who knows, there should be more opportunities.

I uploaded Part 2 of the drum re-heading to the set here, which I was surprised how many people were interested in.  These are basically just shaving the head and cutting out a muff, most of the work was the night before.  BTW-there were like 34 beginner students at the class the other night!  12 in the advanced.  So much fun.

Lastly, while Rachel Sensen and the kids were over last night Lily wanted to get dressed up in winter gear.  It was pretty funny.

Lastly, my favorite new blog…Hamburger Calculus.  A couple friends of mine have a passion for planning legs of their travels around where to find a great burger or other great food.  Reviews and lots of pics of obscure places by the Phila airport, Chicago burger joints, and tastykake LE pumpkin pie.

ps-Weegie is home today!