Sunday, January 29, 2006

xin nein kuai le!

I may be the last to say it, but may I add my voice to the 1.4 billion people in China and millions more around the world who celebrate the beginning of the Year of the Dog according to the Chinese calendar. We celebrated Chinese New Year for the first time last year and the kids love it. We don't have the stamina to go for 15 days, but we do what we can.
Happy (other) New Year to all.

Friday, January 20, 2006

quick quiz on parental responsibility

Pardon me while I vent. Pencils ready?
1. Your child bites another child in the child care area of your gym. Do you...
a. Claim little Genghis would never do such a thing and go the denial / the other kid probably brought it on themselves route?
b. Take the little piranha and find the parents of the 17 month old little girl with two new sets of bite marks on her shoulder and apologize to them?
c. Grab your kid, tuck your tail between your legs and run home before the aforementioned parents can find out what your little precious has done?

2. You darling little boy pushes a younger, smaller girl out of a swing, tearing her sweater in the process. Do you...
a. Contact the parents of the girl and apologize and offer to replace the clothing?
b. Hide behind the school's policy of not handing out information to other parents for "the protection of the students"? (the irony of that one almost knocked me over)
c. Shrug, laugh and say "Boys will be boys" while buying little Rasputin the new Eminem CD he wants for his 8th birthday?

It's been a tough week for little girlsl at our house. Maybe an even tougher week to be the dad. Parents never cease to amaze / infuriate me. How do you not at least own up and apologize for the actions of your kids? Even if they aren't old enough to know better (although the boy who pushed Hannah certainly is), don't you at least tell other parents you're sorry their child was hurt? Apparently not here in the 'burbs. Personal responsibility is not currently "in".
Thus endeth the rant.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

greetings international friends

For no good reason (probably vanity) I was checking my statcounter logs yesterday and noticed a good deal of traffic from outside of the US. Which is cool. I even had my first vistor from Iceland which is amazing because for whatever reason I am obsessed with Iceland. That's not to say that I think those of you who have come from England, Mexico, El Salvandor, Hong Kong, Austria, Australia, Germany, The Netherlands, and United Arab Emirates (!) aren't cool too, it's just a wierd thing.
So to all who come, from wherever, Hi. Or whatever the equivalent is where you live. Feel free to say Hi back if you are so inclined.

day in the life of a 35 year old sociology student

Anecdotes and observations of the day
Why would the Army come to campus on the first day of class to recruit? Doesn't it make more sense to come in May when some have lost hope?
Desks are smaller than they used to be.
My first prof has a clearly standing joke about how he has been teaching at OU since 1977 - before anyone in the class was born (rim shot). As he was delivering the line, he caught my eye and realized it wasn't true. His groove was thrown.
Profs still write their names on the chalkboard. With chalk. Who knew?
The young lady who handed me a "Blood and Water" tract to help me find Jesus seemed a bit apologetic about the whole thing. Maybe it's like an initiation thing for some campus christian group.
The ipod is destroying the community of campus life. No one talks to each other, they just all bob their heads to different beats.
After 10 years, I still get happy about being let out of class early.

I survived. I'll probably even go back on Thursday. The kids are asking how was my first day of school. I'm waiting for them to ask if I made lots of friends and it I like my teachers. that's what they always get from us.
Homework? Who knew?

anybody got a spare trapper keeper?

For the first time since January of 1996 I say the words, "Today is my first day of school". Hmmmmm. A report from the front later I'm sure.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

the world shrunk a little more

Tonight - after watching the first two hours of 24 of course - I sat down to check my email and found that we had two comments on Rebekah's blog from a family in The Netherlands that adopted a little girl from the orhpanage in Fenyi who is a week older than Rebekah. How crazy is that? Two little girls who may have shared a room and who certainly shared a playroom whisked off to cities 4800 miles (7725 km)and yet their parents can find each other and connect and help those same little girls have some sort of deeper connection to their past together.
Sometimes the whole thing blows my mind. I can't wait to get to know Frank and Jose and hear their story (thankfully they speak English - my Dutch isn't so great).
It's a small world after all (sing along)

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

the end of poverty

I just finished Jeffrey Sachs' book The End of Poverty: Economic Possibilities for Our Time. There is so much to talk about that I can't even imagine where to start. 1 b(B!)illion people living on less than $1 a day. People dying for lack of a $3 injection. Lack of sanitation, electricity, even adequate roads to get to a market to sell or buy. The Western world is flipping out over a handful of people who have died of bird flu (and maybe rightly so) while 10,000 people die every day in Africa and other parts of the developing world - many of diseases that don't even exist any more in wealthy nations. (You can find much more on global extreme poverty and what can be done here)
I could go on and on (and I'm sure I will in the days to come), but for now I'll cut it short. The Church has a responsibility to these people (see Matthew 25 if you have any questions). Not to send more missionaries or food baskets, but to use finances and other resources in meaningful ways to help people in extreme poverty find their way into the modern world.
What if every religious body in the US chose to give 1% of their budget to a fund that was dedicated to helping governments in Africa build roads or distribute vaccines or dig wells or replenish depleted land for agriculture? What if, instead of sending people to build churches, we sent people to build the Kingdom by healing the sick and providing for AIDS widows and orphans and helping fathers provide for their families and . . .? What if instead of taking only the message of salvation and eternal possibilities to these people (again, nothing wrong with the message) we took all of the Gospel to them? The parts about "good news to the poor" and "freedom for the prisoners" and "release for the oppressed". Could it be that building a road from a village to a market or providing funding for a doctor to work full time in an empty clinic or helping a village install solar panels for electricity are significant evangelistic events on par with telling the story of Jesus?
So much for cutting it short. I pray that the handful of you who will read my raving will be affected enough to respond in some simple way. In the next couple of days I will be adding some sites to the right column that speak to these issues and what "little folks" like us can do to help.
Enough from me tonight. But more to come.
PS - I'm not just jacked up b/c of the book, but if you are so inclined, it will jack you up.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

adventures in fatherhood - the good, the bad, and the ugly

Ah what days Saturdays turn out to be.
The Good (insert whistles here) - basketball with Caleb. We goofed around in the driveway this morning and then he had his first game this afternoon. It is so fun watching someone do something they love so much. (btw - 14pts, 5 steals, and a handful of rebounds)
The Bad (still whistling?) - Caleb calls me from a birthday party where he has just won a game for which the prize was a bb gun. "Can I have it?". I think he knew when he called what the answer would be, but it never hurts to ask. Nothing sucks more than disappointing your kids, but to the big man's credit he took it well and even told me when he got home (unprompted) that he understood why I said no.
The Ugly (enough with the whistles already) - We spent part of the afternoon watching OU throw away (literally) their Big XII opener against Nebraska. We geared up tonight in our Jacksonville threads and then sat to watch the Jags get their heads (and other various parts) handed to them by the Patriots. Sigh. Opening Day is coming.

With school looming on the horizon for the kids and for me, it has been good to spend the past couple of weeks connected deeply with all of them. Being a dad goes high on the list of good stuff.

Friday, January 06, 2006

interesting randomness

Dead Tree Newspapers in a Wired World - Great Commentary on the Needless Waste Caused by Print News
CNN video on ways to deal with life's annoyances (as if I needed any more ideas) - look for making the Moost of it
On living with just enough (ht to becky @ grrlmeetsworld)
What Starbuck's doesn't want you to know - You can get a better, stronger, cheaper cappuccino for less, all you have to do is ask. (ht to jordon cooper)
You need the new Charlie Hall CD - Flying into Daybreak hits the stores (and itunes) on January 24. It sounds a ton more like Charlie than On the Road to Beautiful (which I love, but there are some moments that just don't make sense) Check his site if for no other reason than to view the video of the guys in the studio.

stuff changing

I'm messing around with the template and information and other stuff over the next few days, so look around to see what's new. My top ten (+1) book sof 2005 are now listed (more on those later). Back to work...

the most American prayer I have ever heard

Caleb and I went to watch the Hornets play tonight (thanks again for the seats, Dad). During the pre-game they had an invocation from a local pastor (who shall - along with his church - remain nameless). After asking God to bless the NBA and especially the Hornets (homer), he ended his prayer with these words.
And God, we know that your Word says you desire abundance and success for us, so let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

And all God's people in the courtside seats said . . .

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

looking back on 2005

Ah, time to wax nostalgic. Just what you were waiting for, right? In thinking about the past year, a lot of things stick out. Like...
turning 35 (dang, 35?)
Jacob's Well turning 3 years old
my 8 days in the hospital (wheeeeeeee)
the decision to go back to school (because two degrees are never enough)
lots of changes and growth in business stuff that's too boring to get into
the end of the line for my book (for now anyway)
the wait for our referral
seeing Rebekah's face for the first time come up on my computer screen
everything that went into the trip to China
holding her in my arms for the first time

All in all, I'd say it was a great year. How could I not? If I had to think of the one thing (thanks Curly) of the year, I would have to say that this is the year that it finally struck me how big the world really is. From the tsunami and events in Southern Asia to our journey to China to events in the Middle East to genocide and disease in Africa and beyond it seems like over and over my awareness of the bigness and diversity and need of the world has exploded. I've always known it was a big place, but something has caused my eyes and my heart to open wider to the reality that exists in front of me. Coming with the expansion of the world has been a creeping awareness of the love of God for every single human that is currently (and has and will) hanging out on the planet. I can still see the faces of people we passed on the streets in Beijing and Nanchang. I can see the workers and children at the orphanage in Fenyi. I can see jet-setting Japanese businessmen flying past us to get on a plane in Tokyo. I see Nancy and Dancun (our Compassion children in Africa). I see faces of people with no connection to me except that we are both human and both created in the image and likeness of a God that is desperately in love with all of us. I'm finding myself overwhelmed by the enormity of this at times. I think that's a good thing though.
So as 2006 takes off, here's what you can expect from curiouswonder.
the world and God in it
school, school, school, school
slowness and simplicity
big changes coming in life
I'm sure tons of conversation about books. go figure.
lots of random internet goofiness that always seems to crop up
NO pat or jerry references this year. except this one. whoops.

Enough for tonight. There will be some changes in the format and look to the place over the next couple of weeks so enjoy those and feel free to comment on them or anything else.
Happy 2006 to all and to all a good night.

hanging out in KC

Happy 2006! More on that later. K and I got to spend a couple of days after Christmas goofing off in Kansas City. If you've followed the exploits (?) of curiouswonder for very long (and if you haven't, why not?) you know that KC has become our favorite place to get away. The City of Fountains (that's what they tell us anyway) came through again. Some highlights.

Used Book Store Crawling: My ever indulgent wife let me spend a morning rolling through a couple of shops. (Spivey's and Prospero's for those keeping score) The damage? Really pretty minor.
The Chosen - Chaim Potok
Wild Swans : Three Daughters of China - Jung Chang
The Moviegoer - Walker Percy
Singer Trilogy - Calvin Miller
Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

O, and we picked up a map of China from an atlas that was published in 1902. Cool stuff.

Seeing old friends: The Ammons are still in KC and we caused them to skip out on church Wednesday night to hang out at their new place on campus at Midwestern.

Wandering the Plaza late at night: Again, my long-suffering bride let me wander The Plaza taking pictures for a late and cold hour or so.

Decelerate @ The Kemper: The Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art is currently hosting an exhibition called "Decelerate" that focuses on art and artists inspired by the Slow movement. As always, there were some pieces I was really into and some that just didn't work for me. One of the cool elements was the inclusion of media like film, sound, and computer generated visuals. If you are close between now and February, it's worth stopping by.

The biggest has to be the time being with K. Wandering around, drinking coffee, laughing, talking about things vital and not so much, enjoying life and each other.
It was a good last hurrah before the insanity of renewed academic life assails me in two weeks.