Wednesday, September 29, 2010

September's Magazine

I'm amazed how many interesting magazines there are out there.  I'm also amazed how they can stay in print, but that is a totally different deal.  A magazine that I had read about and then read the last issue is called Good.  

On their website, Good describes itself by saying "GOOD Magazine is about moving things forward, and we're here to celebrate progress wherever we see it come to life. This is the emerging sensibility in our world and that gets us fired up."

Their last issue was about New Orleans.  They wrote about art, cleanup projects, building, green movements, and other things that they would label "good."  It is dangerous to begin labeling things "good" or "bad" in our own minds, and yet this magazine is a great attempt to look at the good things that are happening and not just focus on what is bad.  You can look at the magazine at Barnes and Noble and they have a lot of articles online as well.  Check it out.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

September's Wish

Just yesterday I heard about the TED Prize.  It is a prize given each year and the three winners tell their "One Wish to Change the World."  The winners get $100,000 and a community of people who help to see this through.  Throughout the year their wish is monitored as people track how close the wish is to reality.  (

The TED Prize is a great idea, but I was struck by a wish that won in 2009. Jill Tarter won and this was her wish.  “I wish that you would empower Earthlings everywhere to become active participants in the ultimate search for cosmic company."   You can watch her speech on the site, but I got a little nervous by the first minute alone.  She's a wonderful astronomer, but I can't help but hope there isn't life outside this planet.  I'm not afraid of aliens, but I feel like we have trouble caring for each other already, then there are all the animals with rights and if aliens join that too what would happen?  SETI is located in California, which makes me think Arizona would have serious law problems if people from other planets started visiting.

All of this personal opinion aside, the TED Prize got me thinking.  Jill is probably a wonderful person and has been very successful in her fields, but this got me thinking that I could probably have a wish that would change the world too.  I decided each month in honor of the TED prize I'm going to post a wish someone shares.  What would be your one wish to change the world?

Thursday, September 23, 2010

September's Person

Each month I want to highlight a different person I've met or heard about.  There are some amazing people in my life that I would love to write about later, and some incredible individuals in the news like the guy who gave his coat to a robber and the man who swam the channel without limbs, but this month I've been thinking a lot about my dad.

Most of you who know me know that my dad was a huge influence on my life.  He died so many years ago now, but I still think of him all the time.  This month was his birthday and the start of the NFL season.  I can barely sit down for a game and not think about when he would fly home for Sundays or the weekends and watch the Vikings with my grandpa and I.  I remember getting fried rice every week and eating out of the carton during the game.  When I got older we would talk on the phone at halftime of Viking games if I was in Eau Claire.  When we would watch together he would give the same speeches about how the game is fixed as Moss went for a touchdown, or how Culpepper wasn't as good as I thought he was.  I have a lot of good memories there.

The thing that stands out about my dad is that he truly has left a legacy.  There are a lot of areas where I want to live as he lived and honor what he has passed down.  Here are just a few.

1.  Integrity:  My dad stood his ground, even when it cost him.  Sometimes it cost him a friend, or a deal, but he wouldn't go back on his word or compromise his morals.

2.  Humility:  I have several distinct memories of my dad coming to me and asking for forgiveness and understanding as he wanted me to know that he didn't live perfectly.  He made it easy to seek forgiveness and showed mercy.

3.  Love:  My dad genuinely loved the people in his life.  I will never forget watching him spend all of his energy showing how much he loved his friends and family in his last week.  I pray that I will do the same.

My dad will never be forgotten, and that the legacy of my life will be similar with my kids.  I know I am spoiled to have a dad like I did and that many of you did not have that opportunity.  Truly, I am sorry about that, but I pray that God will bring someone into your life even now who will play a similar role for you going forward.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

September's Quote

This past few weeks I've been reading in Joshua, and the end of Joshua is one of my favorite parts of Scripture.  Joshua recaps all of the things that God has done in the people's midst and then challenge them going forward.

Joshua says these following words to the people of Israel. "Now therefore fear the LORD and serve him in sincerity and in faithfulness. Put away the gods that your fathers served beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD.  And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD."  (Joshua 24.-14-15)

For me, these are powerful words.  I need to often stop and reflect on what all God has done.  All the ways He has shown Himself faithful, that He has provided, that He has healed.  At the same time, I need intentionally choose to serve Him and not just assume I will on my own.  I need to make that decision and act out of that decision in order to truly honor Him.

It is sad how distracted we get. I know it breaks His heart how often we drift into choosing other gods.  In this season of life my family and I are together making our choice.  We will serve the God of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joshua.

Monday, September 20, 2010

September's Resource

My favorite invention probably go in this order:
1.  baseball (obvious)
2.  Super Mario Bros. on Ninetendo (How did they get Mario out of that little cartridge)
3.  airplane (reallly amazing if you think about it)
4.  toilet (seriously, just think about it)
5.  the white board.

If Eyes That See ever has its own office there will be a room, preferably my office, that is completely white boards.  Maybe if they had "tan boards" people would be okay with a room decorated that way.

My friend CJ tells me of programs that are like a white board all the time.  I used to use OneNote, but I love my hard drive so many times that my license was filled.  I found Evernote and really like it. It is a free program that is nothing like a white board, but still allows for me to have random thoughts and tape up photos, websites, etc.  It is worth checking out if you think of ten things at a time, need checklists, and like free downloads.  What programs do you guys use?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

September's Entertainment

I have very few friends in The Ville, but have been super busy starting Eyes That See.  All of that equals up to me searching the web for the first time ever.  (I know, nine year olds are smarter than me.)  Last week I found this video that is a project worked on by Arcade Fire and Google.  It is pretty awesome.  Type in your childhood address and enjoy.  Since I don't understand computers I say it is all magic!

September's Random Interest

This month the random interest that I have is college football.  This isn't even one I'm just telling you about, but instead I'm going to try to sell you on it.  It is the best and here are my reasons why.

1.  If you are really good, one loss puts you in jeopardy, two ruins your season.  I've got five kids.  There's not enough time to watch a million games, keep it in my head and everything.  This way if the Longhorns win they are in it, if they lose they are in danger.  If they lose twice I grow a beard and mourn until next year.

2.  Uniforms and stadiums are crazy.  With the pros I feel odd commenting on uniforms.  It's just not manly.  In college football you can make your preference by simply choosing the "coolest" color.  My family chose their allegiance between Louisville and Kentucky mostly by debating whether red and black or blue uniforms are cooler.

3. Mascot brackets.  If you know nothing about football you can always invent a bracket out of the top 16 and simply decide which mascot would beat the other in a fight.  For instance, a Hurricane would always beat a Deacon.  The Deacon can pray, but seriously, how do you hurt a Hurricane.  (Miami would go undefeated simply by it's mascot choice except they choose to be an odd team.)  This is the reason there is an East Coast Bias.  Simply, who cares whether a Duck or Beaver is tougher.  They can have Oregon.
ps-Where this is tough is with shared mascots.  In cases like the Tigers (Auburn, LSU, Clemson) it all comes down to colors and logos.  Nikki picks Clemson because it looks like her high school logo.

4.  Fat guys make you look faster.  Speed is awesome in college because not everyone has it.  Have you ever played sports against someone like me?  It just makes you look awesome.  Well, a little of this happens in college football.  There is no way to get 150 teams stocked with world class athletes who are within 4 years of age and able to keep up grades and athletics without a paycheck.  This makes some people who just love to play, (and they make the teams worth watching) have vital roles on the team. They also make fast guys look even faster.

Now go watch football and enjoy!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

September's Book

My good friend Ernie makes fun of my book choices because I love books like Salt, which is not a clever title.  It's actually the opposite of clever, it's a book completely about salt.  It's awesome though!  As you can tell, I'm done apologizing.  Welcome to my world filled with books that to me are interesting.  (And yes, I do read them and I do have five kids, a wife, and a job.)
One of my favorite books is called Ghost Map.  It is about the spread of cholera in 1854 throughout London.  I could not put it down as I read this book.  The thing that keeps coming back to me is that there were all of these assumptions that were made about the spread of cholera.  None of them were checked out, they were just assumed.  This dangerous act took the lives of so many people and really makes 1854 London look like one of the least intelligent and hygienic groups of people of all time.
I have spent a lot of time reflecting on this book and how in my own life I make crazy assumptions without investigation and how that can lead to horrible results.  I've made assumption about what is good, who can be trusted, and about how smart I am.  This book helped me give second thoughts to items that deserve at least three.  It is an awesome book.  Don't even get it at the library.  Buy it.  (I don't even know if anyone is reading, but I'm being firm!)

September's Nonprofit

A few years ago I met the great people from Gobena coffee.  Of course, I loved them because they love coffee. Even better than that, they sell coffee with profits going to awesome projects within Ethiopia.  They are partnered with Lifesong, a fantastic agency, in doing some work that is changing a community called Ziway.  Check them out and buy some coffee if you get a chance.  It tastes really good, you can subscribe to get automatic refills, and it's for a great cause.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Point of it all...

I'm not interesting.  It's just true.  I've decided I'm going to write about the only things that I really think about and maybe give a resource to someone who didn't know something was out there. I'm hoping to each month highlight a different book, magazine, nonprofit, etc that has caught my attention.  Maybe some of this will interest you.  If that is you, subscribe and follow along.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010


I'm a fan.  Seriously.  Coffee is probably the only bean in the world that I would call both beautiful and a bit seductive.  I've only lived in three places and often visit Ethiopia, so here are my favorite coffees in each place.

Minneapolis:  The Caribou Coffee on 85th in Brooklyn Park.  I like this one because it's by my mom's house and I used to go there after visiting my dad when he was sick.  I cried and felt happy there.  Once I used the awkward bathroom between them and Dairy Queen, but it still wins for me.  (I know there are great local places, but I haven't lived there forever and dad memories always win.)

Eau Claire: Hands down.  Coffee Grounds on 93.  No competition.  I loved it, sat there for years of my life.  Drink the Bolivian coffee and just escape for a moment.  It is like entering a world without troubles.

Louisville:  Java Brewing Company on 22 and 42.  Great staff, great coffee served in cups that are nearly as big as my head.  (If you know me, you know that this is quite a statement.)

Ethiopia:  Any little ceremony you can take part in.  Watch the amount of sugar though, it's crazy.  The coffee is good and strong on it's own so you don't need fifty scoops like they'll offer unless you want both a caffeine and sugar rush.

If I get to go to other places, I'll try to find my favorite there too.


Yesterday I was supposed to do a talk called Pecha Kucha.  This is when you have 20 slides to talk about something and only 20 seconds per slide. The slides are automatically turning after 20 seconds and you have to pretty much catch up.  I spent about two weeks trying to think about what I was going to talk about.  Last Thursday my friend at Java said "you just talk about what you like."  This seemed revolutionary.  I know everyone talks about what they like and that people have been blogging this for years, but I never realized people would be interested in what I like.  So this is my attempt at self-disclosure.  This blog is about what I like.  Mom, I hope you subscribe because then I have one follower!
So the Pecha Kucha talk was postponed and I stayed home yesterday.  When I was supposed to be at Java talking I was instead just hanging out with the family.  It was about bed time and I told everyone I was going to the deck to read.  Ezra was sure I would play video games because he would and made fun of me for liking reading more than video games.  This made me think of what I like to read.  Here are my favorites authors for anyone interested.

1.  C.S. Lewis-The Great Divorce is awesome.  Mere Christianity is worthwhile for anyone.  Til We Have Faces is a book I have read several times and like more every time.

2.  David Halberstam- I would read any of his books that are less than 30 lbs.  Some of them are more I'm certain.  October 1964 and Summer of '49 are the best baseball books in my opinion.  His book The Best and the Brightest was good too, though it is nearing the 30 lb rule.  Does it make a Kindle heavier?

3.  Francis Chan- Our lives and churches would look radically different if we actually lived this way instead of liking the idea and challenge of living this way.  What actually keeps us from this?  Read Crazy Love if you want to change.  If you want to just be cool, please don't read it and ruin a great book though.

4.  Malcolm Gladwell and Michael Lewis.  I know both have been made fun of, pretty much for people liking them and making them trendy.  I still like both authors a lot.  They make me interested in things because they are.  That's talent.

I like a lot of other people, but that is who first came to mind.