Low tops VS mids

Posted by & filed under Youth.

Lets just begin by saying without shoes where would we be?  Now I know that there are some places in the world don’t even have socks let alone shoes but that shouldn’t hinder us from some healthy discussion on style points.  So in my time on this earth I have worn almost every style of shoe imagineable but let’s face it what we really need to be concerned about is function, then fashion.  For me, I have to be able to do one of the following in my shoes

  • Bomb a hill
  • Skate a park
  • Do a wheelie or bunnie hop or kick-out
  • Run decently fast
  • Jump out of a moving vehicle
  • Climb a great tree

That pretty much sums up the need for shoes im my world and then by the way they gotta look sweet too.  You know, like you know what your talkin bout.  The other thing is they gots to be steady.  Meaning I have to be able to wear them with pants or shorts and not look goofy, which is why High Tops aren’t even a part of this discussion because of this eqaution

shorts + socks + High Tops = pants

besides when in your daily routine do need “ankle support”  all lumberjacks and crusty construction workers are dismissed at this time.

So now that we are alone let’s get down to business….is it lows or mids?  Let me make my case and then I will gladly take any comment or questions.

I’ll just come right out with it LOWS!  There I said it and here is why.  The low top is the most casual of all shoe.  It says “hey bud I know you see me” and also just gives you the easy confidence of a man about his business.  I will also say that there are far more variety of low tops available making them the dominating force in all shoedom.  Think about Run DMC, when they rocked the mic they were wearing lows.  Think about just rollin with your hommies who’s wearin what….lows.  And let me close with this, a recent study shows that we spend a total of at least two weeks of our life tying our shoes.  Now with Mids your adding a couple of  extra shoe string holes which means more time fussing about and getting your feet all situated which could easily lend itself to more of your life being spent tying your shoes.  If you are wearing mids right now I would say you’ve probably lost a good additional day or maybe even two just messing with those laces dahwg.  Which is why I wear slip ons as much as possible, which are mainly available in lows.

thank you for your time.

The Paradigm Shift of a Hot Dog

Posted by & filed under Youth, Youth Pastors.

So the other day I was with a good friend of mine and we had a hankerin for some 31 flavs, you know jamocha nut slam, peanut buttery slider with a swirl of whatever that goo is, or the most confusing… gumbally wally.  So we had in mind the promise of the pink and blue sign skillfully located in some strip mall located next to some video store and a take home pizza joint.  To our surprise we found our Robins, Baskin in an old Der Weiner Schnitzel hut.  After a triple take and quick argument of whether or not we were going to get a foot long or a single scoop, we were there.

Paradigm shift #1  The protrusive A frame of Der Weiner Schnitzel is actually now a 31 Flavors?  I see the roof  line and I smell hot dogs but what waits inside is an arctic wasteland of frozen sugar and cream, and super ripped forearms….strange.

As we approached the front doors I was suddenly struck with a great idea.  It all happened at once…I claimed out loud that I am going to the top of that Weiner Roof to enjoy the view, and I was off.  In a full sprint.  By the way I’m pretty fast for 6’2″ and pushing 2 bills (you know winter and lazinesss).  Anywhoo I was two steps into my approach and my buddy said “that’s would be so sweet” .  The “eeeeet” was still hanging in the air when my foot made contact with the side of Der Weiner, dang it I mean Baskin and Robins.  And immediately following my first step was the momentum of my face.  You see you will almost get no where in life unless you lean into it and so I did .  The thing is, the marine layer had settled upon this fiberglass roof which had created the recipe for “slicker than snot”, and thus my face was rapidly approaching contact with Der Weiner Schnitzel.  Dangit, sorry, Baskin and Robins.  Fortunately for me, and you if we are ever attacked in a dark alley, I have wicked fast reflexes and was able to somehow catch my self before a certain shattering of teeth happened.  Sadly no summit was achieved that night, but fortunately ice cream was ate, even if I was thinking about hot dogs the whole time.

Paradigm shift #2  What appeared to be was not.  A promising A frame suggesting glorious peaks and promising views was just the worlds fastest slip-n-slide disguised as a roof.  A Weiner roof that is.

All this to say that things have been talked about and tried.  Big ideas have been even bigger flops, i mean take the double bun bike seat for crying out loud!  But let us pause and be encouraged to know what you know and risk big,  for reward could be hidden in a shape shifting hot dog stand.  Just stretch those hammies and go for it!

Don’t forget the dental insurance.

Why am I Such a Goof-Off?

Posted by & filed under Youth, Youth Pastors.

The last post I wrote was about mentoring (the Spock/Yoda thing).  This one is about mentoring as well—the topic is something close to my heart and I’ve studied it a lot.  I promise no more 70’s/80’s sci-fi films references in this one.

So I am 43 now and still love to play.  Not just once in a while, but A LOT.  I’ll play nerf darts with my kids, surf any chance I get, (any game or sport for that matter) and join in most extemporaneous outbreaks of fun in the office.  Envision –shooting baskets with trash, sliding on trays down hills, and other stuff I won’t list (so people don’t think I’m a total slacker).
I get my work done and even act professional most of the time, but I’ve always wondered if there was something different about me because I seemed to like recess way more than class time.  Doesn’t that stuff stop when you get older?  Anyone else feel like that?
This all came to a head for me at one of those professional national conferences some years back.  I’d go to these to learn and grow in my profession, but secretly looked forward most to the creative late night activities we’d come up with.  For example, for some reason we had this challenge that we had to swim in whatever body of water was near the city of the conference.   I passed when we were in Colorado Springs one December because the ice was too thick, but I wish I would have passed in Orlando when we swam across that alligator infested lake at midnight.  We’d get about 3 hours of sleep per night and just crash for a few days once we got home.   I always learned a lot in the seminars and meetings (the ones I stayed awake in), but wondered if I should act more grown up.
Now, fast-forward to one of my doctoral classes at Fuller a few years ago.  I was in a session on peer-mentoring taught by Dr. Bobby Clinton.  He was my favorite teacher and an expert in the field of leadership.  He wrote a great book on mentoring called “Connecting: the Mentoring Relationships You Need to Succeed in Life”.
Anyhow during this lecture he says as we get older we have less and less significant peer relationships and one of the most vital ingredients is fun together.  I’ve paraphrased his content on this issue this way:  Fun + Friends + Faith are the main ingredients of a significant peer friendship.
Those three ingredients exponentially accelerate each other.  In other words, the more fun you have the deeper your friendship and faith can grow together and visa-versa.  I’ve seen this principle proven over and over and over again.  That’s why camp is so much fun to come to—we have amazing challenges in our faith, you meet great people and having fun is expected.
If anyone out there needed a license to goof-off, there you go. See you at camp!! ,


The Adventures of Jimmy K., Mary Jane, and Chelsea

Posted by & filed under Youth.

Once upon a time, on a far off mountain top called Ponderosa, lived two happy munchkins named Mary Jane and Chelsea. Everyday, Mary Jane and Chelsea would don their colorful sweat pants and comb their stylish hair, and run to and fro across the grassy knoll on top of Ponderosa, pretending they were ping-pong balls and locomotive trains while sipping their coffee. The squirrels, birds, and rodents would watch and hum to the tune of the girls’ happiness.
But alas, one day, Mary Jane and Chelsea had to say goodbye to their beloved friend Scooter. He was on his way to another far off, distant land, so he could learn more stuff. Chelsea pouted her bottom lip, and Mary Jane withheld a silent sob in her throat, as the two stood at the top of the mountain and waved goodbye to Scooter.
As the months went on, Mary Jane and Chelsea tried to be brave. They would smile and wave to the visitors of the mountain as they came to share in the girls’ happiness. But as time went on, both girls knew that life on Ponderosa would never be the same.
Then one day, three people arrived on top of the mountain by way of long-board. Mary Jane and Chelsea squinted their eyes as the visitors approached, and then with a burst excitement, realized it was their new dear friends Jimmy K., Cynthia, and their son Gustavian. Mary Jane and Chelsea locked their arms and dosie-dosed in circles across the meadow and sang, because they were so happy their new friends were at Ponderosa to stay. The excitement brought together their other friends too: Emmeline Bartholomew who joined their song in harmony, Kelly Flane who gleefully giggled and Kittredge Car who clapped her hand together.
Life on Ponderosa became happy again. Mary Jane and Chelsea had three new friends, Jimmy K., Cynthia and Gustavian. And every morning, as the birds began to sing, all the people of Ponderosa would gather together and clink their “OceanSpin” mugs full of coffee, and continue to sing and dance.

The Nature of Power

Posted by & filed under Kidder Creek, Youth, Youth Pastors.

Last year, I began my job at Kidder Creek – Mount Hermon’s satellite camp in the Marble Mountains.  After moving from LA County (population 10,363,850) to Greenview (population 200), I experienced a brief period of culture shock, and became somewhat of a podcast junkie.  Without internet or television at my house, podcasts seemed to be my only link to the outside world, and I would download them by the gigabyte before leaving the office each day.

One of my favorites is the Discovery Channel Video Podcast – I highly recommend it. Every few days they release a new one – usually a short clip from one of their more popular programs.

I want to share one with you.  It’s called “The Nature of Power: Hans Florine” 

An arrogant title, no doubt – but ultra cool if your name is Hans Florine.  Imagine if it was your name in there – “The nature of power: Craig Thompson”  I feel my biceps growing already.

Listen to the way he talks about rock climbing – with such confidence, adoration, and excitement.  I hope that’s how you talk about ministry – I hope that’s how I talk about ministry!  

Hans sees climbing as a challenge, a joy, and a thrill.  It consumes his attention. It is his love.  Perhaps most profound: there are times when he doesn’t remember how incredible it is – until he shares it with someone else.

Check it out if you have 2 minutes.

Land of Beat Poets and Amish Rappers

Posted by & filed under Youth.

The title to Katie’s blog last week reminded me of one of the most simple yet beautiful times of Echo: the talent show. Through the weeks, we saw the entirety of The Princess Bride recreated; we heard piano playing, beautifully written songs, and the ordered cacophony of tap shoes; we felt (or at least one of us did) the refreshing cascade of buckets of water being spilled all over us; and we even got a taste of Eric Garner’s dance moves.

These were fun times for me. I was consistently impressed and humbled by the talent that could be drummed up from just a few people with only about an hour of preparation.  But talent shows were more than that for me. They were a microcosm of the larger community of Echo. At the talent shows, I saw a people dedicated to service, worship, study, and community. Service was being willing to take a backseat in someone else’s talent (maybe setting up the music for someone else’s dance, doing the beat-box for a friend’s rap, or giving up your costume for another person’s routine). Worship was evident in the content of the songs and poems written and performed. Study was clear in the math demonstrations that were given, the careful crafting of a verse, and the rote memorization of the entire song Amish Paradise. And community was all over the place. Community was the laughter that was the soundtrack of our evenings–my sides ached after each one. Community was the encouragement and acceptance and praise of one another–not once all summer did I hear boos or biting remarks. Community was the vulnerability–to stand up in front of a group and sing accapella a song that you wrote takes guts and it takes trust!

On the surface, talent shows were just straight up fun. My stuffed Eeyore costume was precious to me, and he brought to life the spirit of the dance that had lay dormant for so long in my soul. But there was a lot more to it than just that. Like I said, it’s a microcosm of the larger Echo experience.


Random Thoughts with MJ

Posted by & filed under Youth.

Hello Cyber-Friends

MJ here with the latest and greatest blogtastic news. “What is that you might say?”  Well let me tell you. I have just graduated with my doctorate in Blogging with an emphasis in Random Thoughts and a minor in Q&A. “What does this all mean?” Well again let me tell you. It means that every so often you will be receiving a top-notch quality blogging entry from me!  Anything from Random Thoughts to answering your questions, this blog will have it all….well at least more than Jeremy Klaniecki’s blogs.

Random thoughts…I don’t agree with automatic flushing toilets. I am a grown up. I know when to flush. Why is it that I now walk into a bathroom and everything from the toilet, soap, water and paper towels are automatic? What does this mean? Is our hygiene that poor that we need our bathroom trips to be so accommodating? That one might almost have to rebel in order to have poor hygiene? Forgive me if I am sharing to much but I believe my bone to pick with automatic bathrooms comes from a past embarrassing experience. I was caught off guard one time when I entered a stall and the toilet censor registered falsely. I jumped at the noise and the water spray that I was not expecting since I did NOT flush the toilet. I lunged forward and hit my head on the coat/purse hook on the back of the stall door, creating a loud noise followed by an “ouch”      I was hurt – my pride was hurt – I no longer enjoy automatic flushing toilets.

Dear MJ, should I bring sheets to camp or a sleeping bag, I noticed that you can bring either.
-Clueless in Carmel

Dear Carmel- this one is in the bag (pun intended) Bring a sleeping bag – here is why. #1- sleeping bags are cool. #2- you sleep in sheets all the time, branch out.  #3 – You can’t camp out on the porch in sheets.

Echo, Eeechhooo You Stole My Heart and My Cat….

Posted by & filed under General.

“At all times, every hour, every minute, even at my busiest times, I drove away from my mind everything that was capable of interrupting my thought of God. This has been my practice since the first days I entered into religion. Though I have done it imperfectly, I have found great advantages in this practice. I am aware, however, that all of these advantages are to be attributed to the mercy and the goodness of God, because we can do nothing without him-especially me!

But when we are faithful in keeping ourselves in his holy presence, keeping him always before us, this not only prevents our offending him or doing something displeasing in his sight (at least willfully), but it also brings to us a holy freedom, and if I may say so, a familiarity with God wherein we may ask and receive the graces we are so desperately in need of.” –Brother Lawrence, A Habitual Sense of God’s Presence from Devotional Classics pg. 369

When I think of Echo and service Brother Lawrence always seems to pop into my head.  My prayer for all of us as we go throughout our days, attending classes, hanging out with friends or reminiscing about cutting strawberries and peppers up at Pondy, dodging poison oak at Redwood or scrubbing toilets at Conference Center, is that we “are faithful in keeping ourselves in his holy presence, keeping him always before us…”

Godspeed. –Tall Kate

Author Austin Boyd Lauds Writers Conference

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

“My agent, Les Stobbe, had some sage guidance for me from day one. A bit of wisdom that I recommend every writer follow was “go to a writer’s conference.” He offered me two that were coming up soon and I chose the Mount Hermon Christian Writer’s Conference, near Santa Cruz, California at Mount Hermon Christian Camps & Conference Center. What a great bit of advice from Les! I had always considered these gatherings to be for writer groupies and critique groups. I was so wrong. Mount Hermon exposed me to a dozen interested editors and that networking was the catalyst to get my work into print. In the many seminars and editor meetings that I attended in those critical five days, I found that often a publisher buys the author as well as the book. A conference gives you the chance to interface with people who are seeking an author that will be a draw for audiences in the marketing phase, and an author who can articulate the message of his or her manuscript. Mount Hermon was a watershed event in my publishing process.”

Thanks, Austin, for your great comments. And the rest of you . . . have a great weekend!

C.S. Lewis: Five Rules on Good Writing

Posted by & filed under Writers Conference.

This is the first blog I’ve written in a week and a half having been visited with the respiratory flu bug. Not fun . . . but while I was “resting” I read something C. S. Lewis wrote that I thought was perfect for the writers blog, so here it is–Enjoy!

1. Always try to use the language so as to make quite clear what you mean and make sure your sentence couldn’t mean anything else.

2. Always prefer the clean direct word to the long, vague one. Don’t implement promises, but keep them.

3. Never use abstract nouns when concrete ones will do. If you mean “more people died” don’t say “mortality rose.”

4. In writing, don’t use adjectives which merely tell us how you want us to feel about the things you are describing. I mean, instead of telling us the thing was “terrible,” describe it so that we’ll be terrified. Don’t say it was “delightful”; make us say “delightful” when we’ve read the description. You see, all those words (horrifying, wonderful, hideous, exquisite) are only like saying to your readers, “Please, will you do my job for me?”

5. Don’t use words too big for the subject. Don’t say “infinitely” when you mean “very”; otherwise you’ll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

So there you have it, in Clive Lewis’s own words! If you can pull that off you’ll be a much better writer than you presently are. Go for it!