My thoughts on life, love, and other things not so serious.

Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

This past January  Jenessa and I had the incredible opportunity to attend an event in Nashville, Tennessee called Dream Year Weekend. Dream Year is a year long program that my friend Ben Arment started a couple of years ago to help people turn their dreams into sustainable realities. Dream Year Weekend is a 72 hour, fire hose on full throttle, condensed version of this program, designed to be done in community with others in the room and around the table.

The next Dream Year Weekend is June 3-5 in Washington D.C. The event will be hosted at the ultra cool Ebenezer’s Coffee Shop (recently voted best coffee shop in D.C.). Attendees will be navigating, dissecting, clarifying, and monetizing the dream that is floating around in their hearts and minds.

My experience at Dream Year Weekend was pivotal. It gave me the clarity I needed to pull off an amazing event, and the confidence I needed to know that I can survive in the world as an entrepreneur someday.

No matter the size, scope, or context of your dream, I can’t encourage you enough to find a way to make it to Washington D.C. in early June to learn from Ben and several other incredible leaders. Act fast. The event is limited to 70 attendees, and the cheapest registration rate ends this Friday (April 29th). Visit the Dream Year website to learn more and register today.

*This was not a solicited post. I mean every word of what is written above. So don’t go getting any wild ideas.*

Last night Jenessa and I watched the documentary Food Inc. via our newly available Amazon Prime unlimited streaming account. (Off Topic: For what it’s worth, it was a great viewing experience in terms of ease of use, quality, etc… Just hope they ramp up the content soon!) I know, we’re a year or so behind the curve on the hype of the movie. In a way, I’m happy that we didn’t watch it amid all of the promotion and controversy… it made the viewing experience and our response less emotionally charged.

A few things about the film. First off, it was a wonderfully made documentary. It’s no wonder that it was an Academy Award nominee. It was everything you’d hope a documentary to be: informative, engaging, and inspiring of change.

If you’re not familiar, the movie essentially tells the story of how America has become slave to the fast/junk food industry. The movie peels back the layers of an onion showing how nearly every american family is negatively affected by a food production and marketing system that is controlled in every way imaginable by a few key multi-billion dollar corporations. It was simultaneously stunning to see the connections, and discouraging to see just how manipulated the system is.

The difficult part to manage is the reality that it is decidedly more expensive to avoid participating in “the system”. Whether that means eating organic, shopping locally, or avoiding cheap calories. It is seemingly easier and cheaper* to grab a double cheeseburger at McDonalds than to whip up a whole food alternative. *(The idea of “hidden cost” explored in the film would argue otherwise. Here is a great article discussing this issue in brief form.)

After finishing the movie and before going to bed, I convinced myself that my eating habits would change. Then I woke up, accomplished a few tasks, and enjoyed a ridiculously unhealthy nacho dish at a local burrito joint that was likely loaded with ingredients I was unaware of, and were referenced in the documentary. Ashamed of my behavior, I come to confess to my blog readers and ask for you thoughts.

So I pose a few questions:

  • Why is it so difficult to change out eating habits? I suppose it’s really no different than other habits we wish to change/add/subtract, but it would seem that our eating has a special hold on us due to the natural and unnatural “drugs” involved. Namely, the big 3: sugar, salt, & fat.
  • Have you seen the movie Food Inc?
  • If so, has it changed your eating habits? Your grocery buying habits?
  • Finally, for you parents out there: Do your kids regularly eat fast/junk food? If so, viewing this film may curb some of those dining habits. The statistics about teenage obesity and type 2 diabetes are beyond alarming.

So, what are your thoughts? Are you the type to just chalk it up to “liberal agenda” that should be ignored, or are these real issues affecting countless generations? Please share…

The word adventure has been on my mind a lot for the past 2-3 months. Not just on my mind… but in my soul. I can feel myself longing for adventure in a way that I never have before. Am currently reading a wonderful book by Donald Miller that is feeding this fire. In the book he waxes poetically about taking in the world around you. This year, I hope to widen my horizon and take in much more of the world around me.

The beauty of thinking about past and future adventures is the realization that most often don’t unfold alone. Adventure happens in community. My adventures have and will happen with my wonderful wife, and the wonderful group of friends who surround me and serve as co-adventurers.

In this vein, I stumbled upon this photo essay (here for slide show. here for list.) that I linked to off of the Cincinnati Enquirer’s website. It’s a collection of 101 things to try in 2011 in the Greater Cincinnati area. I thought it would be a fun blog and/or Facebook exercise for everyone to share the list of the things they’ve done, and the things they’d like to do in 2011. After all, if you can’t adventure in your own backyard, how will you do so in any other context?

Here’s both of my lists and a quick nod to the friends whom accompanied me on the journey.

The Things I’ve Done:

3. Ski the slopes at Perfect North (church friends)
9. Ooh and aah at the Riverfest fireworks (dozens of friends)
11. Experience Cincinnati Reds Opening Day (mikey, noah, and the guys from MUM!)
13. See the zoo light up at the PNC Festival of Lights
32. Race go-karts in Lawrenceburg (brian and phil)
37. Splurge at one of Jeff Ruby’s restaurants (jenessa and many friends)
41. Beef up your chili with a 5-way (minus the onion… I hate onion)
42. Take an out-of-towner to Graeter’s (the in-laws)
45. Canoe the Little Miami River – and then camp (SWOA camps)
47. Devour the view at Primavista (amanda gilmore… among others)
51. Start your Reds bobblehead collection
53. See the Red River Gorge (austin, peter)
62. See the butterflies at Krohn Conservatory (jenessa)
67. Have a hot drink at Blind Lemon (gilmores, gibbs)
68. Taste Cincinnati (many many friends)
77. Beat the corn maze at Niederman Family Farm (church peeps)
88. Hang out with the penguins at Newport Aquarium (jenessa and waidelich family)
89. Eat late at Shanghai Mama’s (NYE, 2011 – table of  6)
90. Sit in the nosebleeds at a Reds game (countless friends and BSM teens)
97. Pull up a stool at Tucker’s Restaurant (larry and christopher)
101. Eat a smiley face cookie from Busken (jenessa, jess, brian)

The things I’ve always wanted to do, and hope to make happen in 2011.

1. Run (or watch) the Flying Pig (run)
17. Shop Findlay Market
18. Tree lighting on Fountain Square
19. Frolic with the beasts at Zoofari
28. Brave the crowds at Terry’s Turf Club
44. See a show at the Southgate House
46. See the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra perform
52. Visit Big Bone Lick State Park
60. Hit up Bargain Tuesday at the Esquire
63. See stars at the Cincinnati Observatory
70. Visit the Ludlow Bromley Yacht Club
71. Climb Carew Tower
73. Hike Cincinnati’s parks
82. Run Like Hell
83. Ride Anderson Ferry
84. Make friends at Party in the Park
91. See a Cincinnati Shakespeare Company performance

I showed you mine… now show me yours!


Who’s in your network?

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I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the relationships in my life. The more I think about it the more I am struck by the variety of people that I am connected to. Specifically, I am encouraged by the awesome stories that are being authored all around me.

I deeply appreciate the multitude of friendships and acquaintances I have, and I love how tools like Twitter and Facebook (and silly iPhone Scrabble game) bring these relationships into the forefront of my life on a daily basis. Here are some people I consider friends:

  • A young executive in Cincinnati who is one of the youngest managers in his company.
  • Missionaries in Guatemala and Russia who give their lives to far away people.
  • A bank executive who wields his influence in the Church as masterfully as he does in the corporate world.
  • A married couple who are youth pastor and executive assistant who are both on staff at a very large, very influential church in San Diego.
  • A former college basketball star who played 7 professional seasons oversees.
  • A dynamic motivational speaker who produces amazing school assemblies and impacts youth culture in Southern California.
  • An entrepreneur who takes huge risks and creates awesome environments for church leaders and communicators of all types.
  • A college student in Florida who moved 1,000 miles away from home without a car, because he’s pursuing God’s call on his life.
  • A husband and wife in Kansas City who are changing the landscape of the adoption system in America.
  • A pair of musician siblings in Nashville who are chasing their dreams, and fully embracing the starving artist lifestyle. :)

These are just a few of the cool people in my life. I haven’t told you about the amazing youth leaders, parents, and 9-5′ers in my life.

Who are some of the interesting people in your life?


Flight Stories

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These things are connected: A conference, a magazine, a flight, and dogsitting.

This Fall I attended (actually served at) a brand new conference/event called STORY. I volunteered for 2 reasons: 1.) Then digital (now real life) friend of mine named Ben Arment was the founder and architect of the event. 2.) There is something about the word ‘story’, and the concept of stories that stirs something deep within my soul. I knew I needed to be at this event.

At the conference everyone received a bag with all kinds of promo, conference info, and a free issue of a magazine called Collide. This particular issue of collide had the word ‘STORY’ written on the front in a very cool font (liken it to dangling a shiny object in front of me). I liked it, but apparently not enough to read it.

I’m typing this blog on a plane via the WordPress app on my iPhone (I love technology). Up until now, my iPhone and all of its marevelous apps has merely served as means of providing a soundtrack (John Mayer, Switchfoot, Johsua Radin). This is primarily because I have been reading the afformentioned magazine. Turns out this issue contained all sorts of articles that captured my attention, and directly addressed a topic that I’ve found myself engrossed in lately: The idea of leveraging our lives to tell a story, and our participation in a Grand Story.

I think that it is no coincidence that I have chosen to read this 6 month old magazine while on a plane travelling to Florida where I’m spending the next 7 days primarily alone, at my friends house in Bradenton caring for his dogs while he is out of town. I have a full plate of work planned for these 7 days, but I’ve made the commitment to myself, to others, and to God that a primary purpose of this trip will be focused dreaming, thinking, and listening.

I’m listening to, observing, and participating in The Story. I’m confident the next 7 days will be providential for my life, ministry, and future.


Goals. Not Resolutions.

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I’m bad at resolutions. Hopefully I’m better at goals. This past Sunday we had our first full group Student Ministry gathering with our student community at Journey Church. I knew that I wanted to share something that would inspire our students to begin this new year with a new perspective on what it takes to be in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ.

The main point of my talk was that I did not want our students to rely on myself, our church, and other adult leaders in their life as dispensers of spiritual knowledge. Instead I challenged them to allow our moments together to inspire them to seek God at a new level on their own. From their I shared these points ideas centered around the idea of setting some personal spiritual growth goals for the new year:

  1. You have to know where you’re going before you can get there (write it down).
  2. Your direction determines your destination (your actions determine where you actually go).
  3. Share with someone. Accountability is key.

I then had each student write down some goals. Some actions steps to go with those goals. Then they shared some or all of them with the group. It was awesome!! I loved hearing what the students felt like they needed to do in order to take the next step in their personal relationship with God.

Being faithful to my own principle #3 above, here are my goals:

  1. Read the whole Bible (this is partly a personal desire, and partly necessary requirement for a pastoral process I am going through.)
  2. Study the Redemptive Story of God at a deeper level (this is a concept that I have been engrossed by lately…)
  3. Further develop and understand my personal theology. Some people use their theology as a weapon… I’m not interested in that. I do however feel like it is important to know what you believe, and why you believe so. I think this is an ever evolving process.
  4. Intentionally develop and disciple another Christ follower. Every believer should have someone in their life that they are loving on, and journeying with. It’s a calling on each of our lives.

Those are my goals for 2009. They scare me. They excite me. How about yours?

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