Friday, June 27, 2008

Epic Post

The past two weeks involved a short trip to Seattle overlapping with my parents coming out to New England for a 10-day stay. A lot has happened since my last post, so I won’t bore you with every detail. Instead, I’ll keep it pithy and include some photos which involve, for my sake and yours, a lot less effort than reading and writing. In chronological order, a few highlights of the last 10 days are as follows:

Boston: In my last post I shared about how I took a Boston Duck Tour and that a Prius tried to pick a fight with our amphibious vehicle named Beacon Hilda and lost. But what you don’t know yet is that the Celtics’ parade of downtown Boston following their game six victory over L.A. gives me more to share about the Duck ride. While watching the local news, my mom spotted our beloved Duck transporting finals MVP Paul Pierce (well, I’m pretty sure it was him) through the streets of green and white confetti. And just when you didn’t think it couldn’t get any better… Mr. MVP himself is standing exactly where I was in the Duck less than a day earlier! Okay people, I know, I know, but please try and keep your composure.

Acadia National Park: Acadia is small compared to other national parks like Yellowstone or Glacier. But it’s definitely one of New England’s most naturally beautiful areas. I’m taking a group of students camping there in August, so it was nice to preview the park. My dad and I hiked Cadillac Mountain, the spot from which you can view the earliest sunrise in North America.

Birthdays: My parents were born exactly 364 days apart which means they celebrate back-to-back birthdays ever year. It was great being with them to celebrate their birthdays. Folks from the church say they look more like my siblings than parents. I might have to agree with them.

Bike Ride: Dad and I took a pretty epic bike ride along the coast of Maine, finishing at Nubble Light; thought to be the most photographed light house in the world.

VBS: All this week my mornings were spent at the church doing Vacation Bible School. I didn't know if I would like working with three, four, and five-year-olds; but to my surprise I really liked working with this age group. I think I finally understand the whole having kids thing now.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Prius vs. Duck

Today the parents and I went into Boston. The three of us took a tour via the Boston Duck Tours, which offer land and water sights of the city on vintage World War II amphibious landing vehicles. We weren’t more than 10 minutes into the land portion of the tour when all came to a halt, and our driver quickly exited the Duck. Apparently a Toyota Prius collided with the hull of our amphibious vehicle. While hanging out the side of the Duck, I snapped a picture of the incident with what seemed like all of Boston backed up behind us honking their car horns. We soon made our way off the main road where our driver exchanged information with the driver of the Prius. Before we knew it, we were on our way again.

So who one the fight--Prius or Duck? Well let's just say there was hardly a scratch on the Duck and the Prius I'm sure will be in the shop for a while.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I'm Tired

Although the trip to Seattle was great, I'm tired. And for a second I forgot which side of the country I was typing this post from. Traveling across country and back again in less than 72 hours is far from ideal, but it was definitely worth it. Saturday night I got to hang out with my sister and friends at Maggie Bluff's (see picture). Although seeing friends was great, the main purpose for the retreat was to debrief the first year of my internship. It was great to verbalize my experience and talk at length with others that have also been doing youth ministry work throughout the year. After the "debriefing retreat," I got to hang out with my good friends Gary and Joe. Joe helped me prepare for my trip to Switzerland and Germany next month by enjoying with me a delicious half liter of Franziskaner Weissbier. I also discovered that the US Airways in-flight magazine had a cover story on visiting Zurich. Carolyn, Drew, Nick, Jake, Josh, Bethany, Maren, and Sarah... I can't wait!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

To the Land of Evergreens and Geoducks

I'm off to Seattle today. This year I have been a recipient of a "post-baccalaureate" grant funded by the Lilly Foundation to put towards my student loans. I also get to attend a "debriefing retreat" in order to talk about my internship experience with a small group of peers that I graduated with last year. It's a pretty great deal for me because it's an opportunity to talk about my experience at length with other ministry-minded people that have been in very similar positions. It's also a chance to connect with my sister and some friends from college that I haven't seen in about a year.

My parents are also coming out to the east coast on the 16th, which should be interesting considering I will at that time still be in Seattle. How am I supposed to host my parents in New Hampshire while being in Seattle you ask? Good question. One that I'm still working on.

Anyway, mom and dad are here for about 9 days. They both are celebrating birthdays next week which should be fun. I've got some fun activities lined up for us including a trip to Acadia National Park in Bar Harbor, Maine, a couple of fun tours of Portsmouth, NH, and surfing and an epic bicycle ride for my dad and I. I'm also preaching again next Sunday so that should be interesting to have my parents sitting in the front pew while I espouse doctrinal truths. My next few posts will be highlighting some of these adventures.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Hello Summer

The northeast is in the midst of a heat wave. With temperatures over the weekend reaching nearly triple digits, I've determined that summer is officially here. I'm a big warm weather fan, but I really can't stand trying to fall asleep with night time temperatures well into the eighties and a window air conditioning unit that struggles to blow cold air. Although the weather has been miserable at times, I'm realizing anew that I really do live in a great part of the country. One of the main reasons I say this is because between home and work I'm either 5 or 15 minutes from the beach. Sunday and Monday were beach days and the surfing was great even though the waves were small. Below are pictures of the New Hampshire coast.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Under the Microscope

After nearly 10 months since coming on staff with the church, today I underwent my first significant evaluation. I often feel like the "golden boy" of the congregation--like I can do no wrong. I receive lots of affirmation on a weekly basis, yet little constructive criticism. I asked my evaluating committee to give me honest criticism, and I received exactly what I asked for. Oh sure, there were plenty of words of encouragement, but I also got some less than flattering feedback. When considering first impressions my committee stressed how "green" I was when I first started. I was also told that I needed to be more out-going and create a sermon outline when preaching. I appreciate the feedback, but I don't know if I agree with all of it. Nevertheless, it's not easy having your work scrutinized and criticized. I wish I could say that I absorbed every word dispassionately, but the truth is that it's hard not to feel just a little defensive. But this is how we grow, learn, get better, and become more self-aware. However, my plan for tomorrow is to go hang out with some of the little old ladies for a little self-esteem boost!

Random: As I write this Obama is about to address a crowd of 20,000 in St. Paul Minnesota, and his wife Michelle just gave him "knucks" before he approached the podium. What a woman!