Monday, November 26, 2007

Cue Over the Rhine's "Latter Days"

So, here’s what’s going on down Miami way, for the – like – nine of you who regularly read this thing and like to live vicariously through my life:

On November 17, I celebrated the second anniversary of the tenth annual remembrance of my twenty-fifth birthday. Math majors, you may now commence with the figuring out of my age. As one might guess, this being the first birthday I get to celebrate being away from my family and the first of MY birthdays Ashley & I celebrate as a married couple…yeah. Deep thoughts, deep sighs, and introspection a-plenty.

Tuesday, November 20, Ashley and I played hooky from work and drove to Orlando to go hear Rob Bell speak as a part of his The Gods Aren’t Angry Tour. It was a great chance for us spend some much-needed time away from the office, and I felt…relaxed…for the first time in months. I actually began to feel okay with the way that life is going, and I felt okay with the uncertainty of many, many things that are coming up in Sonnyland.

Thursday, November 22 was – duh – Thanksgiving. Since Ashley was the Residence Coordinator “on call” for the week/weekend, we did not get a chance to travel to go see family and friends for the holiday…and this was the first Thanksgiving that Ash did not spend with her family. We instead helped to host a dinner for the residents of the building we live in that were unable (or unwilling) to travel home for the break. Mosaic hosted a plethora of events for the day that – sadly – we did not participate in. More so by nature of the fact we had this event to prepare for, but also because the aforementioned melancholy ‘tude of Ashley (away from family) and me (my life in transition, blah crap blah).

Friday, November 23 was the day we celebrated being bums. And just to say we took part in the insanity that is Black Friday, we made one (1) trip to Best Buy sometime around 2:00 in the afternoon just to see the chaos (we bought nothing, much to the chagrin of retailers everywhere). I also smirked like an idiot at the victory of MS State over that other college in Mississippi.

Saturday, November 24 we headed off to this HUGE freaking outlet mall about 30 minutes from where we live…where we bought nothing, but we began the process of making our lists and checking them twice. We also ate dinner at a Cracker Barrell (the first one we’d seen since moving here) for a little touch of home. We then went to OUR home to watch the thrill of victory (Auburn) and the agony of defeat (Kansas).

Sunday, November 25 we went out and bought our first REAL six-foot-tall live Christmas tree. I’m waiting for Maggie to either eat the bottom branches of the tree or for Cricket to try and scoot up under the tree skirt and fall asleep.

Today? I’m a little sleepy, a little sad, and a little in need of a roadmap.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

CAFFEINATED: Long-distance creative brainstorming (reach out and blog someone)

Ah, Compass Community Church. My home away from home (and where my heart still years for in many ways), and the place where I still get to take part in the Creative Team...especially when my "expertise" is needed.

Their current series? Caffeinated.

Something that I clearly have no experience with...

Read on, faithful blog monkeys:

So - in an effort to bring you broad knowledge on the subject of coffee into play...This week we are in Phil 3 - The Aroma of Life we're calling believing

As Caffeinated Christ Followers (CCFs) we will be known by our SMELL...AROMA

So, how do we safeguard this CCF Aroma/Smell...

Paul speaks to this in Phil 3by telling us to:
Resist Legalism (3:1-7) - Refocus Ambitions (3:8-10) - Reject Complacency (3:13-14)

Now the Sonny Part - Coffee Lingo aka translation...

As CCFs our Aroma can
Offend or Attract (3:1-7 -dealing w' the legalism)
???? Or ????? (3:8-10 - dealing w' the refocusing of Paul's live - trading in His Glory for God's Glory...Paul's Vision for God's Vision for his life...Paul's Passion for God's Passion)
Be Postive or Negative (3:13-14 - dealing w' complacency - either focusing on negative of the past or the positive of a future in Jesus)

Thoughts - Ideas (especially for 3:8-10 part - don't have that one yet) -Tweaks....


My responses?

YOU can't believe you're doing CAFFEINATED without me? Follow this up with a LORD OF THE RINGS series or a follow-up to LOST (FOUND 2.0) or HEROES 2.0 and we'll have words, Carpenter. I know you want me to come back, but you don't want me to come to exact my righteous vengeance. :)

Now - my thoughts:

- the aroma of coffee/the QUALITY of the aroma of the coffee can be measured in part by where it's coming from. For me, I go into a coffee shop and I immediately know that the smell I get hit with is welcoming and reminds me of why I'm where I am. Phil 3:2 is the hinge on this: same as with church - I go into a church that has a heart (aroma) I am going to connect with, I can easily sync up with the CCF's there. I go into, say, a truck stop that yes, sells "coffee," but the smell of the carafe that's been on the burner for HOURS and is now stale, acidic and has had the flavor literally burned out of it - that's a mutilator of the bean, not so much the flesh (verse 2).

Invert this with how many large, legalistic churches "look" like a church should look, but what you get there is stale, been warmed-over, and well past its prime. Finding a quality brew in, say, a church that meets in a warehouse is - for many - akin to finding a Fair Trade brew being served at a Texaco. It's not what you expect, and it's only because the baristas (the ministry team) care enough to brew the very best.

Plus - really. What IS more pretentious or proud of the culture in a coffee shop than the people who have, say...a Starbucks logo mug, keychain, travel mug, coffee scoop...they're all about the "pedigree" of the coffee - because it comes with a "name" - than they are about the coffee. Sometimes, the people who get a half-caf, no foam, skim-milk latte with a shot of sugar-free hazelnut sound like a pretentious jackass in line. The people at the local shop, for example, KNOW me and know that when and what I order, I know what I'm getting. If anyone tries to "call me" on not knowing what I'm ordering, I wind up spouting off a deal of information about the beans, the roast, the region they come from - but I don't just blurt this out willy-nilly because I'm not a braggart.

- coffee beans not used once roasted go stale and lose flavor and aroma, even if you store them in the freezer (as my parents like to do). Verses 10-11: I have experienced redemption in Christ and in the sacrifice of His life, so I want to share in those sufferings. I have roasted coffee beans that I want to enjoy, so I want to grind those beans up - and to somehow attain a buzz. :) Use it or lose it, really. Yes, some jackanape might want to argue the "once saved" debate, but really - it's more like getting saved and then moving to a commune because you want to keep that first connection/"salvation high" alive in your heart. If you don't USE the beans, you LOSE the beans. You're left with something mildly resembling that which you paid a high price for. Same as with your salvation - it came at a high price, so if you don't use your gifts/abilities as a CCF, you're putting that light under a bushel, so to speak.

Don't miss the HUGE point that for as good as coffee smells, it's not until it's crushed that it fulfills its true purpose. For as good as Christ's teachings were, it wasn't until HE was crushed that he could come into His true purpose.

- rejecting complacency is like moving from a pre-ground, sold-in-bulk cheap coffee to getting a bag of fresh-roasted, vacuum-sealed beans. Coffee drinkers are ALWAYS on the look for the next great brew. Why else would Jittery Joe's continually try to improve it's beans (having "not yet taken hold" of the best brew), not continuing with the things that didn't sell or were met with disdain by the drinkers ("forgetting what is behind") and they press on (even with a French press) toward "the goal of the prize."

- Sonny
taste and see that the brew is good...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Transcendental post-modern existential ennui

...has nothing to do with what I write here today, but man. That's one catchy title.

So, I'm feeling a tad melancholy. Between my looming upcoming birthday which edges me closer to 40 than to the, shall we say, moderately unclear status of my employment beginning in January and the wonderful baggage of meaning and purpose in life that this brings...

Y'ever have those days when you want to cry and you can't quite figure out why exactly? Or, you think you know why but you don't know why you want to cry? Or you're just so torn (cue Natalie Imbruglia) that the frustration and mental & emotional stressors are making you lose sleep, unable to focus, and you're emotionally bi-polar?

Kinda like being in love (except for the bi-polar bit), with the difference being that this insomnia and mental anguish doesn't come with a hug.

I just needs ta (a) meditate on the name of this blog (shut up, Bryan), and (b) get Psalm 46:10 and/or the song of the same title by Kim Hill embalzoned on my heart.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Much Ado About Nutjob's been a few weeks since the latest update. Things in Lemmonsland have been moderately busy and full of intrigue, mystery, romance...

...wait; I'm confusing my life with the life of Chuck from NBC's new series of the same name (shameless plug, but whaddayagonnado?). My bad.

My life's been comparatively bland; Ashley and I have FINALLY gotten around to framing and hanging some of our wedding photos in our apartment, although we've not bothered to put the 67 jillion other photos in an album. Yet.

I have a beautiful first-degree burn on my left hand from where my ignorant self poured - not spilled; POURED - espresso on it as I was making Ash a latte at home. I think I invented a new language when I started screaming in pain from this.

My birthday is coming up soon, and this has me both melancholoy and sentimental. Growing older stinks.

This weekend, Ash & I are going to go through another round of DVD and book purges. We both feel like we've accumulated too much...junk...and in a move to simplify our lives, we feel the need/desire to unburden ourselves from some of the material possessions we have. So - we'll either give 'em away or sell them on eBay.

My work situation has taken a turn for the comedic, as I (a) have little to no idea what in the name of Mal Reynolds I'll be doing in January for a job, (b) I'm uncomfortably comfortable with that idea (?!), and (c) with every breath I take, I am reminded more and more why office politics give me a headache. And a heartache.

Ashley? Things are going great for her - she's applied for the Ph.D. program at Barry University and for the Ed.D program at FIU. So, soon she will not only have more common sense but also more book sense than me. I can still take her in a game of trivia, though.

See? Noone has missed anything. You may now go back to watching dancing unicorns on YouTube or whatever it is that passes for entertainment in your corner of the world.

Me? It's off to coffeeland for a much needed break.