1) I think that with nine books that have to be read, and five papers due by Wednesday for my Pastoral Leadership class, that this might be the shortest "Ten Things..." ever. Yikes!
2) Had a nice marriage retreat/birthday weekend. The confluence of the two events was a nice coincidence. Aimee and I, on Uncle Frank's dollar, spent a couple of days at the Embassy Suite Hotel in Lexington, hanging out a little with the other Beeson Pastor couples, and most of our time just reconnecting. We hired a couple of babysitters (also on Uncle Frank... that guy is generous!) to watch the boys (although Eli did stay with us overnight both Friday and Saturday... we just dropped him in the morning, and picked him up in the evening). Aimee and I spent Saturday, my birthday, looking at motorcycles, reading books, buying birthday gifts for the boys (Max's b-day is Friday and Xavie's is in mid-March), and just spending some time together. We ate with everyone at a nice place eating good prime rib in downtown Lexington, which was a zoo because of the game with Florida. All in all, though, a nice weekend.
3) In relation to the idea of marriage, am trying to wrap my head around being more intentional about my relationship with Aimee. Given that I'm not exactly the easiest person to live with anyway, it's easy to just kinda start not being real intentional after over 16 years of marriage and three kids. Eli is just starting to get with the idea of being with a babysitter, so that's going to help skads in us doing stuff together, sans kids, which we enjoy immensely. The weekend was a good start to maybe the next chapter of our journey together.
4) My schedule is so bad right now that I've gone back to using an electronic organizer. Between classes, papers that are due, weeks I need to be back in Lima to preach, family events, and an abundance of travel, I'm drowning in details. I need a calendar that goes with me, so I'm back on the iPAQ bandwagon. Just forgetting too many things.
5) With no Antwan Jamison, and with LeBron's hurt toe, my fantasy basketball team is heading south quick. Three head-to-head losses in the last four weeks don't bode well for the future. It's a testament to how strong the team has been in that I'm still holding down first place the league... but I gather that won't be long for this world. My brother is creeping up on me.
6) There are some birthdays that are joyous (10, 16, and 21 being the ones that stick out in my mind - 10 cause now you're in the double digits, 16 cause now you can drive, and 21 for reasons that no longer apply to me as a UM-Christian minister), others that are tough (didn't care for 23 too much - seemed like the "death of my youth"... don't try to understand what I just wrote), and others that just come and go. 38 is one of those years. You're breathing down the neck of 40, but it's still far-enough away that you aren't really thinking about that yet... so it just kind of comes and goes. I suppose, too, that working on a doctorate and looking at a "promotion" professionally kind of eases the blow of growing older. I feel like maybe, for the first time in awhile, like I'm moving forward, so maybe in time 38 will become, in retrospect, more momentous than it appears right now. Who knows.
7) Received a lot of comments about my "King of Cars" post. Some folks found it fascinating, while a couple were put out that I'd draw an analogy between what he's doing and what a church is supposed to be engaged in. Just wanted to highlight how Chop seems to get the idea of being a "Primal Leader" in that it at least appears that he has a greater concern for his employees and the community than just as a entities that potential profit. Even though the methods used often result in consumers biting off more than they can chew (which seems to be a problem for most of the upper-middle and middle class in this country), understanding the need to make something as stressful as car-buying an exciting, fun experience is what captures the imagination.
I mean, have you ever worked in a place where people didn't particularly like working together OR the leader of the pack's mood kind of dictated how things were going to go that day? It's no fun. Connecting people with the idea they are a part of something bigger, and caring about them as much as people as employees is critical, I think, in managing a church staff. How to do this and also stay mutually accountable what God is calling the church to do is the murky sea that must be navigated, and pondered by this pastor, a little bit more.
8) Didn't watch the Grammys last night. The only thing I wanted to see was The Police play together, but I just had too much to do. What's it say when the only thing that interests you about an awards show that rewards the best in music made in the past year, is the performance by a band that hasn't made music together in over 20 years? I guess when the concerts you'd most like to go to in the coming summer are headlined by Genesis, The Police, and Van Halen, you've kind of gotten stuck in the 80's.
9) Well, Ohio State is ranked third in the country in basketball right now, but after having watched them a couple of times, there is something about the team that's leaving me more than a little uneasy. Bill Simmons, a columnist for the ESPN.com claims that folks he knows who know the team believe that the upperclassmen aren't taking too well to the influx of the "Thad Five", and appear to be "sulking" when they don't get their minutes or points. While I suppose this is possible, at least everything I hear about Jamar Butler (one of the said upperclassmen, and a Shawnee HS grad) is that he just wants to do whatever is necessary for the team to win, so I'm skeptical of Simmons' assessment (click to read the column)....
it does appear that the rotation for the Bucks isn't set enough that the unpredictability of playing time is causing problems. Watch enough NBA basketball, and you'll understand how too many talented players and too little playing time can destroy a team (although that's not a problem for any team in the NBA this season). Couple that with a Big Ten that just doesn't look all that strong, and this team could be looking at a short-tourney run in what will probably be only year they have Greg Oden. Too bad the NBA didn't raise that minimum age to 21 (which would, actually, be bogus, just like the minimum age of 19 is bogus right now, but what would it have been like to see Oden play with his right hand for a season? Scary).
10) And finally, since we were at a hotel all weekend, I not only saw the Cavs destroy the Heat, but also caught a little of the media frenzy that is the aftermath of Anna Nicole Smith. Of all the "talking head" commentary I heard, the most salient were the words uttered by none other than Danny Bonnaduce (who knows a thing or two about self-destructive behavior). His comment:
"Anna Nicole's death wasn't nearly as tragic as her life."
Gotta say, that seems true. Given all the law suits, guys claiming to be the father of her baby, and endless tabloid garbage this will generate, I fear for her 5-month old daughter. Here's hoping she ends up being raised by someone who sees her as a daughter, and not a meal ticket. That's my prayer.
OK... back to work.