Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Live your story...a Good Story

As the New Year, and new decade approaches, I'm not making any New Year's resolutions. These super-hyped, trendy-faux goals can end up becoming self serving to-do lists that end up causing guilt in hindsight come February. Besides, I have enough things to do on a day-to-day basis. Instead, I'm seeking out a better story--to intentionally live life with moxy. Inspired by Donald Miller's new book, A Thousand Miles in a Million Years, I've connected some serious dots with my love of art/film/books to real life. I truly recommend you get disturbed by this piece of work, what I think is one of the best books of the year. It woke me up and reminded me that I'm not just living for the perfect American dream: nice house/car, big paycheck, and 2.5 kids..nor am I living for the American Christian dream: comfort and security. I'm living for that "silver screen experience." It's what we all spend $10.50 for:, (minus the popcorn and sticky floor) action, complexity, ambition, sacrifice, and satisfaction when the credits roll. Except in real life it takes a lot longer than a mere two hours. A good life story takes years and years of wrestling with pain, addressing fears with courage, pursuing meaningful relationships and serving others in a way that costs and costs big time. It's trusting that in the messy process of learning to forgive, denying self, fighting for justice, loving family, enduring pain, and complaining about delayed flights-our character is transformed. And that's the point of a good story..and the point of a life: character transformation. Thanks to Donald Miller for that reminder. So, when I spoke this past Sunday I tried to weave all these things I was learning into a conversation to share with our church and created an artistic space for us to express our stories. It was a memorable time. I was completely inspired and felt like a photographer in a dark room putting together an exhibition. I invited the church to think about our life in scenes, by reflecting through piles of pictures and images. We identified "inciting incidents' in which we were forever changed by some pain, challenge, or obstacle in which we were undoubtedly propelled into action, into living a good story. We then journaled, drew, or wrote on these images to tell a collective story together and hung them up on a "story line." My hope is that we as God's people choose to submit our stories to each other, too, sharing and spurring one another on in our journeys. Listen to my message here.

Memorable concepts from the book:

The most important elements in a movie is the story.

There is purpose in every scene, every line.

A movie is moving-going somewhere.

With out story experiences are just random.

The same elements that are important to a story are important to life.

To know your story, ask yourself what you want in life. If we don’t want anything, we are living boring lives. If all we want is “stuff,” we are living vain lives.

When we live a story we are telling others around us what we think is important.

Nobody remembers easy stories, Characters must face fears with courage.

Happy & sad things in life are used to color the story.


Plan your story with God, and live it intentionally

Good stories don’t happen by accident

Story: a character who wants something & overcomes conflict to get it

Map out a story for your life. Map out a story for your family. Live story.

We are designed to live through something, not just attain something.

The point of the story is the character arc, the change

The point of the story is never the ending, it's the hard work and character molding in the middle that helps us appreciate the ending.

Really good stories are not full of security and comfort, but change & action.

There is an “inciting incident” which forces the character to move, to face fear and conflict

God wants us to live beautiful stories, but there are forces at work against us.

From Facebook see Video on my blog here:

Friday, December 25, 2009

All I want for Christmas is my 2 front teeth

....and the other 26. Every one of these little chompers are coming out and new ones are going in.

This year, I'm happy to say, it was quite bare under our Christmas tree. My wife and I decided that our children would only get three Christmas gifts each year, (Grandparents and extended family are extremely generous anyway so it's not like our kids are deprived). Three gifts connect to the Kings/Wise Men who brought frankincense, incense, and myrrh to Jesus. This sounds all spiritual, but we really like the symbolism, and the way it keeps us disconnected from materialism. Wendy and I also chose not to get gifts for each other this year, since honestly we just want to go out on dates together, but also because we have to save for my dental work. I feel so bad about all the teeth bills I am accruing and can't justify asking for any other gifts. All I want is my teeth! This full mouth reconstruction, complete with every tooth crowned in some way, has been going on for almost seven years now. In 2006 I blogged my discouragement, and I'm happy to say, that although things are progressing slowly, they are progressing. Even though I still battle discouragement, I'm content and seeing God at work, just like when I found hope in 2007 here, or when I blogged in March of this year that he provided! Eventually all $1100 for came in for my mouth necessity! At this time we are still fully debt free! It's making for a truly great story because I have no idea how God is going to come through in the future, but he I know he will. The most recent challenge unfolds in the New Year as we wait for God to provide tens of thousands of dollars. Yep, we are not buying a new home or starting our adoption process yet, (although we wish we could), we have to lay down this cash simply to put teeth in my mouth. CRAZY! So, I'm not asking Santa, I'm asking God to provide and trusting he'll provide for each of my 28 teeth at $1300 each. It will be a Merry Christmas, even if it's in June.

Love came down at Christmas

See Video from Jars of Clay here.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Apparently Santa rearranges his schedule

Overheard a mom explaining to her daughter that Santa was coming to their house early. The daughter was confused. "Why does Santa have to come early, Mom?"
"Well, Santa's very busy on Christmas Eve and loves to get some of his visits out of the way early. So it works out perfectly so we can leave for vacation!"

Monday, December 21, 2009

VLOG 15 December 2009 TRT 4:59

Watch: December VLOG

Ahhh..Christmas! Jesus and...our...garbage.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

What do you think of Wednesday's Picture?

Do you like White Elephant Parties? Why/Why not? What's a lasting memory of a gift you got or gave?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Social Networking.

Have you seen this video on Social Networking? Or this one?

Life is different than 10 years ago when I graduated college and didn't have a cell phone. Life is different than just 6 years ago when I didn't have a blog. Life is different than just on year ago when I wasn't on twitter. Some days I just need a break from it all. It's nice to turn it all off and rest. Maybe humans should take after bears and hibernate.

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

What do you think of Wednesday's Picture?

What do you think of "updated/modern" nutcrackers?
(Yes, these are nutcrackers).

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

What do you think of Wednesday's Picture?

What do you think of lit up Nativity sets in front yards?

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

How I spend Thursday Nights

"Tough Guys!"

Here's some pics of the class of kids I get to hang out with on Thursday nights. It's one of the highlights of my week. These guys (and there are more girls in the class than pictured but most of all left before we started taking the pics) mostly teens in RWC/Menlo schools are creme of the crop and have all been selected for a unique arts program (described below). The guy on the right in blue is Gabe, one of the Boys& Girls' club's leader. He's a great dude, and I hope he joins us on our Winter Retreat! *He's also featured in the video link below.

By a gracious grant from Adobe and the Black Eyed Peas these kids have a phenomenal space to work their creativity. Full dance studio, computer lab for editing videos, and an amazing sound studio to record their music. It's a very amazing thing that they chose Redwood City to be a site! Watch the Video.

Each weeknight they have electives like acting, movie editing, sound mixing, dance, etc. in which they can take. It's a great program in association with Broadway by the Bay that I am so blessed to be a part of it. I get to teach acting on Thursday nights. I come home full and energized with these kids' stories, their craziness, and their imagination (which is a post for another time). All of them learning skills and developing their talents to make a difference and live a better story than the streets are offering them. We are working on improv skills, acting for the camera, and most of all, learning to tell (and live) a story that is worth watching (and living).

These kids are talented, amazing, and the future!