June 26, 2008

Bop Boop Beep Beep Boop

I really loved Star Wars growing up. Not the new ones, I mean the real deal ones. I remember watching that movie over and over and over. It never got old. The other day we watched "The Happening". The funny thing about that movie is the title is the exact opposite of the movie. Nothing happened at all, it was just a bad movie. Not only was it a bad movie it was a bad movie with a political agenda. 

 Anyways enough with my meta-critique, back to Star Wars. I loved it, I mean what other movie have you watched that one of the main support characters doesn't even speak English? I mean R2D2 just goes around beeping and booping and he is sometimes one of the most hilarious characters in the movie. Whats that R2? Beep boop beep beep booooop! Hahahahahahahha! Man what a droid...

I can't remember what point I was getting to. But here is a good one, don't spend money on watching "The Happening". It not even a renter, it should stay on the shelved and gather dust. Hope that saves you eight bucks and change. Peace...

June 24, 2008

Go write your ramble, Go write your world

I am currently reading three or four books. I am reading them slowly because the only time I have to casually read is fifteen minutes before I go to bed or for an hour or so on my day off. Anyways, I am reading a really good book about writing by Anne Lamott. It is called "Bird by Bird".  The book is not just a good book about writing, but it also contains truisms about life. She seems so genuine in her writing style. She allows herself to bumble or create quirky metaphors that sometimes just barely work. But I love it!

One of the biggest pieces (albeit simple) of advice on writing in the first few chapters is to just write. It just was such a big shocker for me because I was looking for a cool technique or formula she follows in her writing, but there is none. Just write. So I will do just that. I will write. Sometimes it may be bad or incoherent, but I hope that sometimes there will be something worth reading.

So there it is, for those of you who are crazy enough to try the writing life. It takes time and practice to be a better writer, so just do it. Write, write, write!!! Just write your ramble and go write your world. 

June 22, 2008

baby teeth

Pancho is growing up! He is losing most of his baby teeth and is now growing big dog teeth. He's not much of a "big" dog, i think he weighs ten pounds. He likes to pretend he's  a big dog though! 

Today was such a sweet day. I have some really great friends and a fantastic church family. I am just blessed beyond anything I can say! Of course, I have a great wife too! I am thankful to God for he is longsuffering with my shortsightedness! I would not have been here without Him!

June 21, 2008

icky thump

Saturdays in Orlando are cool. A: because I-4 is a breeze in the morning B: because I-4 is a breeze in the morning C: because I-4 is a breeze in the morning 

It's the little pleasures in life huh?

June 20, 2008

exchange rate

As I was reading in the scriptures today, I ran into a very curious passage. It is found in the gospel of Matthew in the 26th chapter. Verses 14-16 talk about Judas betraying Jesus for the cost of 30 silver coins. I have read this passage plenty of times, but I never researched it much. 

As if exchanging the son of God for some monetary sum was not enough, Judas also exchanged Jesus for a deploringly little sum. I cross referenced this passage with others. The same sum of money is found in an Old Testament passage. (Ex 21:32) In this passage it says that if a bull you own gores someone's male or female slave then you must pay thirty silver coins in exchange for the offense. 

I don't know the currency and exchange rates of the time, but that doesn't seem like enough to get to downtown Jerusalem get a meal and back home. As I thought about it more it really started to break my heart. I was feeling pretty pious and thinking about how lame Judas was. But then I got a sinking feeling in my stomach, because as I pointed the finger to Judas I noticed he looked alot like me. 

Then I was really heartbroken, not because Judas exchanged God for so little, but because sometimes I exchange following Christ for even more insignificant amounts. A little comfort... A few more seconds of indulgence... An opportunity to avoid embarrassment... A chance to look better than others... A few steps in the other direction... 

Dear God, help us to check out our own exchange rate when it comes to spiritual matters. Please help me to remember the value of our relationship to you and how much you gave for us. Thanks for this simple yet poignant reminder... Amen

June 16, 2008

Gettting Old 1 Norm 0

This morning I was trying to clean up a little present Pancho had left me on the tile. (At least it wasn't on the carpet) We have a little fence we set up in certain places so he can't get in. (like the kitchen and dining room) It's not really a fence it is just one of those baby gate thingies. I bet you can see where this is going...

Anyways I have paper towels in one hand and a trash bag in the other and my big toe catches the fence as I step over. PAUSE... I used to chuckle when I heard old people talking about slipping and busting their hip or whatever. I was like "how in the heck do you go from walking to falling?"... UNPAUSE... All of my weight shifted forward anticipating the step over the fence that did not occur. In slow motion I repented of the things I said when I was young and looked for a place to gracefully land.

The funny thing is that time seemed to slow down and I thought for sure I was going to be able to catch my fall and laugh about it ten seconds later. But while the brain was poised for action, the limbs took a poll and decided they were boycotting this mission. All 200+ of my chiseled body landed on my right knee. I thought for sure the impact alone was going to shatter my knee cap. 

Well even though my knee didnt shatter my ego did. This was really weird for me. I used to move with such elegance and prowess. But now I moved like a three-legged cat dipped in a vat of Orange marmalade and half-drunk. Think about it...

Just in case you were wondering. I am ok... LOL!

the gospel of God's grace

Acts 20:24 "...I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me--the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace."  

D-zang! That's all I have to say about that.

June 15, 2008

rumbling, stumbling, bumbling

Ahhh Sunday. This Sunday I really felt like the gears were sticking for me. Things went well, but I felt so off... So I wrote a poem.

                           Bumbling Bee

Ambling and Gliding
Through the air sliding 
On a path of w's z's and the occasional q.
I stumble out of my honeycomb home
A comfortable place to say the least.

My senses are not keen as I tumble into the screens
of life. Every moment like a waked napping child 
groggy and surly. But as we sleep we grow.
So. I don't really mind.

How is it accidents can become miracles with a little
perspective and band-aids? Is it perhaps...?
Bigger than us? And what looks like ambling
rambling and stumbling is really
a beautiful thing. to God. to our real friends.

Sometimes stumbling leads to more focus
or broken bones, but as a bumble bee stumbles she never really falls.
So my ambling, gliding and sliding is
my awkward way of walking
thru life
that I may know He catches my stumble 
and puts my feet on higher places.

It may not be a good poem, but it helps me to feel better. 

June 14, 2008

Greensburg Bug

The other night there was a show on the Discovery channel called Greensburg. I thought it was a very compelling show. A quick synopsis of the show is that this small town in Kansas was decimated by a tornado and now they are rebuilding the whole town "green". 

After the show I researched a little about LEED standards and what constitutes a "green" building. I wondered if there were any communities of believers that had a green church? And actually there are! How cool is that. I think it is pretty cool that people want to give themselves away even to the point of being a good steward to the resources God has blessed us with. 

This show really hit home especially since gas prices are berserk. Am I going to trade in my car to go green. Well... not yet, but at least Im thinking about how I can live green. Pray that I can really take it to heart. 


Okay, by reading the last few posts you know that I work with students. One of the books I have been reading lately is Controlled Chaos by Kurt Johnston. This book is a really simple and constructive piece on working with middle schoolers. In the book he suggests that persons who work with students should take some time out to remember what it was like being a teenager.

After plenty of medication, meditation and aromatherapy I am now able to look into the past. (Thanks Dr. Phil!) One of the things that makes me crack up is the music I used to listen to. I am a closet hop-hipper (as Andre 3000 would say) and I jammed the heck out of Bobby Brown, Bel Biv Devoe and the like. But nothing can say eighth grade like this jam

Hope your inner teenager is alive and well! Unless you are a teenager and I if that is the case I hope you are alive and well!

June 13, 2008


I like to hang out in bookstores. Yes, I know that may seem a little peculiar to those of you who don't know me well. But I love nothing more than to grab a handful of new books, nestle into one of those big comfy chairs and read until the print gets blurry. That means; A: I have overindulged myself by drinking six frappie lappy carmel coffee heaven drinks or B: The security guard has swatted me over the head with one of the books that litter the floor in front of me, causing the mouthful of the frappie lappy caramel coffee heaven drink to spew across his plastic badge thus landing me posterior first outside the bookstore. (This is a true story...sort of)

I frequent many sections in the bookstore, but the one I always try to avoid like the plague is the "Leadership/Business" section. If the titles weren't dubious enough* the publishers thought it would be a great idea to put the author (about 99.9 percent who are middle-aged or elder white dudes) on the cover with his ill-fitting suit and bad hair. Or another funny tactic is using a really BIG number on the front cover like 101 or 21 or 10 you fill in the blank for what the numbers help you do. Like, The 14 laws of boring leadership books. 

But something happened the other day that made me stop dead in my tracks. I realized that as a director to students I AM a LEADER whether I want to be or not. The old me is saying "how much does that suck?". I spent my first thirty years thinking that a "leader" was a person who kissed up to "the man"and was a self-imposing, arrogant, out-of-touch dictator of a person. (not the kind of person to invite to your bar-b-q)

I then realized it was me who was arrogant, selfish and unteachable. See, the fact of the matter is that those people who I looked up to the most exacted some measure of leadership and influence in my life. Whether it was a football coach, a professor or pastor, these people looked to invest something in my life. I realized that personal growth does not occur in a vacuum and that good leadership was more about facilitating growth in others. 

See in the past I made the wrong assumption that leaders were in it for themselves or to promote their own name. (And for some people this is true, But not for all) But, now that I see leadership from a different perspective I actually don't mind flipping through the pages of those books. I am just tapping into this part of my life and am understanding the perspective of good leadership. I have a long long way to go, but at least I understand that this is important part of helping others. Leadership is scary to me because I think it is a greater responsibility than I could ever have imagined. 

But this is where I fall off and God's grace takes over. Good thing for that huh! Well Im out, thanks for listening to the ramble. May God move you to lead those around you whether it be your child, family, community or world. Peace!

* titles include: "Four Obsessions of an Extraordinary Executive" (sounds like a fun guy to hang out with huh?) "The Leadership Challenge" (Is our next retreat going to be a crappy version of the amazing race or the biggest loser?) "High Five! The Magic of Working Together" (I can't even make fun of that one, it does it all on its own)

June 12, 2008


My dad had a variety of occupations but one of the longest ones I remember was when my family owned and operated an apple orchard. Apples? In Texas? Yes. They were dwarf apple trees set up on a trellis system, so therefore they did not need as much cold weather as their northern counterparts. We would grade the apples and the better looking ones would go to market and the not so good looking ones would go to juice. (Their looks had nothing to do with the quality of juice, but stores liked the ones that "looked" like apples.)

I learned that there are hundreds of apple varieties. Yes, hundreds if not close to two thousand in the US alone. But the coolest thing I learned is that many of these apples are made by grafting different trees. Many of my favorite apples are a derivative of many years of work. Another strange thing is if you take the seed from a cultured apple it may very well produce a tree similar to the original tree it was grafted into. That is such a trip huh? 

The Romans were famous for their olive trees and grafting olives. A olive tree left untouched may grow up to fifty feet in height. Cultivated trees are more like 20ft or so in height and produce a much healthier fruit. The grafting process is mentioned in the Bible in Romans 11. It talks about Gentiles (you and me unless you are Jewish) being grafted into the family of God. That is pretty cool to me. Especially since I have seen a graft first-hand.

See after a while a graft "becomes" part of the tree. It behaves like any other brach on the tree because it "is" the tree. It is no longer a separate grafted branch tied onto the tree but a branch fed by the same roots and everything. God gives us a chance to be part of what He is doing in the world. I can be tapped into His unending reservoir of love, power, grace and the like. So basically I am not "kinda" like His child or like a step-son. I "am" a part of His family. Thats pretty encouraging if you ask me.

You should check out a nursery and see if the horticulturist there can show you some grafted trees. It will really give you an appreciation for how complete God's salvation is for those who believe!! Peace out...

June 11, 2008

The Birth of Metanoia (Blog 2.0)

Blogs have been around for quite a while and honestly most of them bored the doo out of me. But lately I have seem to run upon a resurgence of the blog.So, I guess since my peeps are checking out the blog scene again, I decided to begin a blog to write about what is happening in the life of Norm and the goings on in the lives of the students in central Florida.

Now there are heaps of other blogs I have linked that are much more grammatically palatable and not so boring, but if you are courageous enough to battle the egregiously placed prepositions you may find this blog to be, at the least, notably ordinary. Which these days is not too bad if you ask me. Anyways that is as much explanation I can give to this blog as I can muster.

My name is Norm and I am a "no longer a twenty-something" living in the orange-zested state of paranoia known as Orlando. My wife and I have lived here for the last three years and life has been pretty good to us. I have a dog named Pancho, who is a six-month old puppy of poopy-making pleasure.

I hope that this blog will make you laugh, cry, wonder and hopefully help you think out loud about your journey in life. One of the great things I have learned in my short time on this blue-green ball is I am not the center of the Universe. There is a center, but this takes time to learn and if you are willing you can find the center.