Thursday, January 31, 2008


I'm 29 days into the No-Mt. Dew Challenge and, for whatever reason, today was a tough one. I kept looking over at the little change tray by my desk and thinking about taking a short walk to the pop machine for a cool, refreshing beverage.

But, I didn't give in. No way.

Why didn't I give in? I've got the right motivation - a challenge!

So, why can't I be so successful resisting other temptations - the ones that have spiritual significance? Do I need a challenger?

Will someone please join me in a No-Idolatry Challenge, or a No-Pride Challenge, or even a No-Selfishness Challenge?

I know I shouldn't need extra motivation for doing what is right and pleasing to my Savior. I should just want to please Him with my obedience, but right now it's not enough. I struggle every day with those things.

My wife shared with our Small Group tonight a message she heard from Alison Gingerich about Time Alone With God. It really made me think about my relationship with my heavenly Father. How can I claim to love Him and serve Him if I never spend time with Him? I can't.

So, who's up for a Time Alone With God Challenge?

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

How is he doing it?

It seems like the votes keep rolling in for the poll on "Why do you hate the Patriots?" But it seems like the only votes coming in are for "Because they're cheaters." That makes me think that someone has figured out a way to place multiple votes, and I think I know who that someone is ...

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

What do I do?

You may wonder what the graphic designer at a church does all day. After all, how much need is there at a church for graphic design, right?

While I do more than just graphic design, there is actually a pretty good deal of design work to be done. My days are usually filled with a few big projects and lots of little projects - making for pretty full days.

As I was skimming through my "Misc" folder today (that's the folder for things that don't exactly fit into a clear category) I found a couple examples of things I've come up with fairly recently. Hopefully this gives you an idea of the range of things the different ministries at NMC need.

This first one is a design for the Quiz Team's shirts. They're studying Joseph this year.

This logo is for Kenya Night, an event organized by Senior High students to raise awareness, prayer and financial support for two ministries in Kenya: The Abandoned Baby Center and The Maasai Project. You can find out more about Kenya Night here.

This logo is for Fanning the Flame, the annual series of revival meetings we have at NMC. Every year we bring in top-notch speakers and worship leaders.

Finally, this is an early concept for a new ministry starting at NMC called Nexus. It's a 30+ singles ministry. This logo may or may not actuall be used. It's just one concept I worked on today.

Now, if you want to find out what work by real designers looks like, go here!

Monday, January 28, 2008

Space saver

Jeff emailed me a picture of a 24-pack of Mountain Dew to help me save space on the counter at the top right of the page. He and I have reached 26 days without Dew or any other pop. There have been a few tough days, especially since the pop machine here at the church costs only 50 cents for a can. But, we're going strong and not even considering quitting.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Is it time?

I've had a few people make comments to me in the past few days that make me think it might be time for a haircut. What do you think?

Excuses, Excuses

I know I already failed in my 10 in 10 Challenge. But I have a good reason for it.
Yesterday was a busy day. We left in the morning to do some shopping, met my parents for lunch, went back to their house, used their garage to change the oil in both cars, ate dinner and got home at the kids' bedtime. But the busy day was worth it, because we brought this home.

It's the TV I wrote about getting here. My wife actually left the final decision up to me and I chose a 40-inch Sony Bravia LCD. It's a 1080p and it's pretty great. I want to make sure I don't get too caught up in TV, but man, it's fun to be able to see things even when you're more than 5 feet from the TV - especially sports!
So, please forgive me for missing the first day of my 10 in 10 challenge. I can still write 10 posts in 10 days, right?

Friday, January 25, 2008

10 in 10?

As I was looking at my blog the other day, thinking about how beautiful the blog is, how wonderful the blog is, I thought to myself, "Why doesn't everybody love the blog as much as I do?" Then I realized, "It's a little blog. They need a blog they can look up to, I mean way up to!"
(apologies to those not familiar with Veggie Tales)
That wasn't exactly what I was thinking, but I did notice that I'm up to 90 posts (counting this one) since starting this blog. So, I'm challenging myself to get that total up to 100 soon. In fact, I'm going to call the challenge 10 in 10 and I'm going to post once every day until I reach 100. Hopefully, I'll be able to come up with enough fun stuff to make the posts entertaining, but bare with me if some are a little boring (my life just isn't all that exciting)!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Are you a hater?

I am becoming fascinated with all the opinions I'm hearing about the NFL Playoffs. I've always been a big sports fan, but as I talked about here I don't really have a favorite team. Yes, I decided to root for the Colts as long as Tony Dungy is their head coach, but they lost last week so now it's back to just enjoying the games no matter who is playing.

(By the way, if Dungy retires like many think he will, my allegiance to the Colts is over!)

So, as the Playoffs heat up with the AFC and NFC Championship games this weekend, I've been hearing a lot about people's feelings toward the New England Patriots. It seems almost everyone I talk to around here (northern Indiana) dislikes the Patriots - some with violent hatred and some with mild disgust.

The more I hear about it, the more it makes me wonder why people feel this way. I understand the Patriots have become kind of a rival/nemesis to the Colts and that probably explains a lot of it. But I get the sense that it's more than that.

From what I hear, the main reasons for the hatred are (1) because the Patriots got caught cheating; (2) because the Patriots ran up the score on weak opponents; (3) because the Patriots win so much (3 Super Bowl wins since 2002 and currently undefeated this season).

To try to understand this more, I've installed a poll at the top right corner of this blog where you can vote to show why you despise the Patriots. There's also an option to say that you don't hate them, just in case. Have fun!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Quote of the Day

I was in a meeting last week and heard this from the mouth of Terry Bley, Associate Pastor of Life Development here at NMC.

"If we can't go together, I don't want to go at all."

He was referring to some plans that involved several different departments. Basically he was saying if we can't be united in these plans maybe we should abandon them all together. That kind of defines teamwork, in my mind.

Thanks, Terry. By the way, when are you going to start blogging?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Temptation in the Fridge

So, I have this tiny refrigerator in my office. Usually it's empty, but today there's something in there that's calling my name. My buddy Jeff did his best to encourage me earlier today with a little gift ...

I know I should just find someone to give it to, but I'm kind of competitive, so I'm going to keep it in my tiny fridge and remind Jeff, once I've won the competition, that I did so with a cold can of Mountain Dew within my reach. Thanks, friend!

Random Picture Update

OK, I've never done a post like this before. Here are a few pictures, with captions, from the last month or so. I don't know how many more times I can get away with posting pictures of my kids, so enjoy! Also, sorry about the date stamps - especially the ones that say it's 2004!

One of David's Christmas traditions is to find a warm body (usually Mommy or a grandma) to fall asleep on at the end of the day.

Hanah keeps telling us she's going to be an artist and a photographer when she grows up. This present gave her a good start. She also got a digital camera!

I'm such a kid! This was my favorite Christmas present, and it wasn't even for me. I could play with this for hours ... if the kids would let me!

Just the guys. Wait, who's that in the pink?

Marty and Mindy are my Guitar Heroes!

Finally, some visual evidence of the story I told you about here.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Quote of the Day

I'm a pretty big Dave Ramsey fan. I listen to his podcast regularly and the radio show whenever possible. Here's what I heard on the podcast today:

"Captialism without morals is anarchy."

Let the Bodies Hit the Floor!

Thanks to Collide Magazine for posting this! I was laughing out loud at my desk!

Monday, January 7, 2008

A Healthy Fear?

I have been working at the church now for about 14 months. Before that, I used to work here. And before that, I used to work here.

If you followed those links, or even moused over them to see what the address was, you know my current job is in a much different industry than my previous two.

Since getting out of the newspaper business, I have had a chance to see what people outside that industry think of the news media. There have been several occasions where my church has been involved in some news stories and it's been very interesting for me to watch how the staff has handled it.

Two times in the past week there has been interaction with local news outlets and it's got me a little intrigued. The staff here seems to go on the defensive whenever somebody from the media makes contact. It's as if there's some kind of fear of being misrepresented - which I totally understand.

As a whole, Christianity takes a beating almost daily in the media so it's no surprise that my church is a little wary of things being printed or broadcast about us.

My feelings are quite biased, I'm well aware, but I truly believe most media outlets (at least the local ones) are not out to get the Christians. I believe they're just trying to tell the stories they see going on around them.

So, this is a post seeking your feedback. I know there are a few people from the newspaper business who read this blog, and some who have no experience in that field at all. That should make for a nice mix.

I just want to know how you feel about the media, as it relates to your faith and your church. Should the church be wary of reporters? Should the church allow cameras inside it's walls? Where does this fear come from? Do you believe the news media is trying to tell the true stories, or do they have an agenda?

I'm looking forward to your responses!

Resolutions that work

I want to thank you. You have helped me achieve a much higher success rate with my various resolutions than ever before in my life.

You may be wondering how you helped. You've simply given me an audience to share my resolutions with and, therefore, some accountability to stick to them. I haven't achieved every resolution, but I've done pretty well.

Corey Mann, on whose blog you can almost always find a new post, recently linked to an article about why people fail at resolutions and it made me realize how this blog and its reader(s) have helped me not fail as often.

By the way, it wasn't labeled as a resolution, but the Mountain Dew counter at the top right corner of this blog is a good example of something that is working. I'm only five days in, but I have no intentions of quitting. Why?
1. It's not a BIG thing - it's simple.
2. It matters to me - it's personal.
3. It's written down.
4. I update the counter every day - I'm seeing my progress regularly.
5. If someone leaves a comment, I go back to the original post about this resolution.
6. I've shared this resolution with potentially thousands of people (although, it's more likely that only a handful of people know about it)
7. Jeff is my challenger in this resolution, a sort of support group. Others have encoraged me as well.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New Things (I'm a little slow)

It has been around for quite some time, but I never went there until last night. On the way to a Notre Dame basketball game, Craig and stopped at Chipotle Mexican Grill.


The food I got at Chipotle was outstanding. It immediately became my new favorite place to eat. Not only was the burrito big, it was awesome. Just spicy enough to need a napkin to wipe the sweat off my face, but not so spice that my mouth actually felt like it was on fire. How come I waited so long?

Another new thing has found its way into my life in the past few days: Sweet Tea at McDonald's.

I had heard about it but didn't think much of it because we usually make our own sweet tea at home and it's pretty good. So why would I need to pay for it?

Well, we found out from some old friends that McDonald's just gives away sweet tea on Tuesdays throughout January. Yep, totally free.

My wife and I decided to take advantage of this amazing offer on New Year's Day. On our way to Mishawaka to pick up our kids, we stopped at three different McDonald's and each got a free drink each time. That's six sweet teas in one hour! We didn't drink all six, we gave two away.

The tea is actually really good. It's really SWEET, but not too sweet. You should try it - on a Tuesday. Other days it's only $1, which is still a pretty good deal!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

New Feature

As you may know, I've got a little bit of a drinking problem. Not the kind that could get me in trouble with the law, but the kind that makes me fat.

I love Mountain Dew. The problem is that it's horrible for me. I know this and yet I can't seem to stop drinking it.

My friend Jeff Simpson (a fellow addict) and I have started a challenge to see who can go the longest without drinking Mountain Dew, or any other pop. We both are just competitive enough to make it interesting.

At the right, just above the picture of my lovely wife and me, you'll see a counter I've installed to show my progress in this challenge. It's as much for my own motivation as it is for you to see our progress, but I hope you enjoy it.

Is it worth it?

Just when I started to think it might be time to give up on the old blog, in comes Derry with a reason to keep going ...

My blog is worth $6,774.48.
How much is your blog worth?

For some reason, it's not showing up, but it says my blog is worth $6,774.48. Who knew?