My ultimate goal in life

My classes take a survey every Friday to rate how well class is going - whether or not the like class. There are four sections: what they think of the curriculum, what they think the trainer (me), what they think of the classroom, and what they think of their own participation. The surveys are completely anonymous to ensure that the agents are comfortable expressing their opinions.

Some of the responses are typical. One agent will say that the pace is too fast; another will say the pace is too slow. One agent will say that the room is too cold while another says it's too hot.

I do receive negative feedback, but it is rare. One agent this last week said he/she felt ignored during large group discussions, but the rest of the class gave me positive comments.

There are occasionally comments that make me laugh. Like this one: "Nick is my hero!A+++++++++ and his shirts are awesome"

Ah, yes. That is what I aspire to - to have awesome shirts.


Organizing Chaos

There comes a point when you realize you are too busy. I’m kinda there. Now. So, before I go crazy or do something I’ll later regret, I must attempt to impose some measure of order on my life. I’ve created for my self one of my least favorite things: a schedule.

This posting is for those of you that KNOW ME PERSONALLY. For those of you who don’t know me personally, unless you are desperate for entertainment, stop reading. Check back tomorrow. If I stick to my schedule, I’ll have something posted.

For those of you that do know me personally, help me out. I tend to be an unstructured individual. If I attempt to stick to my schedule by my own volition, I will inevitably give up. Please keep me accountable to what I need to do – make sure I’m following this schedule.

Now, I fully understand that as a father and a youth leader, there are some things that are and will be out of my control, but to the best of my ability I want to abide to the following schedule.

Monday – Friday
*Work …. This may be overstating the obvious, but I have a job, I need the paycheck.
*Personal devotions… Keeping in touch with God.
*Spend time with Bekah… I did marry her for a reason.
*Some sort of “chore”… whether this is mowing the lawn, doing dishes, or taking out the trash, I want to feel like I’m contributing to the house. And it is one of the ways I can show my wife that I love her. (She’s kinda weird like that.)
*Write for my blogs… Doesn’t mean that I’ll post something, but I do want to spend some time writing. After all, it’s what I do – I write. Worst case scenario, I at least get some practice.
*Spend some quality time with Christian… and Kylee… Spending time with my kids is healthy. Especially for Christian. As he approaches his third birthday, he really needs some individual attention from his daddy.
*Walk the dogs… They need the exercise, though probably not as much as I do.
*Homework… I’ll admit it. I am a horrible student. If I plan on earning my degree, I need to devote some time to school every day.
*Watch a movie... I have gotten into the habit of watching a movie while trying to fall asleep. I'd normally read, but Bekah doesn't like having the lights on. I'd watch TV, but Bekah is addicted to Discovery Health - not my ideal choice in late night programming. I don't necessarily have to finish the movie, just watch one. I've fallen asleep while watching Bridge to Terabithia at least five times over the last month. I'll finish it someday. As a story teller, I am constantly looking at how others tell their stories, and I love movies with a good story. I am also looking for movie clips that I can incorporate into the Guys Nite Out Bible study that I co-lead.
*Youth group... Every Tuesday and Wednesday, as my work schedule allows.

Every Saturday
*A family walk... Bekah. Me. The kids. Fresh air. And the dogs. Can't go wrong.
*Devotions with Bekah... Our relationship with God is a huge part of our lives. It is what has held us together for the last four years. It is what will keep us together for many more.
*Play with Christian... This is much more than just spending time with him. This is play time - boy stuff. Hopefully I can wear him out enough that he takes a long nap in the afternoon.
*Work in the garage for at least an hour... When we moved in, we planned to put all of the boxes of stuff in the garage to keep the clutter out of the house. Then, as time allowed, we would unpack the boxes and get the stuff out of the garage. Since moving, time has not allowed. I want to use that hour to unpack the garage and slowly empty out space to use for music - a place to jam with AJ and anyone else who wants to come by and play.
*Homework... Not to say that I'm excited about doing school work on Saturdays, but if I don't work on it every day, I won't get anything done.

Every other Saturday
*Guys Nite Out... Ryan and I will be leading a Bible study for high school guys. Starts mid July. Not only will I be helping lead it, but I will also need to spend time preparing to speak, play worship, and do whatever else is involved in leading the group.
*PreGNO meeting with Ryan... Time to plan, prepare, and pray for the night's Bible study.

*Church... A must. Unless I am ill. But still a needed part of my week. I've got to get fed.
*Youth staff meetings... Most of them are on Sundays.
*More homework... This is the downside of doing college online. You usually have assignments due on Sundays. It sucks.
*RELAX... I don't get to do it often, and it is the Sabbath.

Aside from that, our doors are always open. Unless we're not home, then they're locked. But when we're home, the kids from the youth group are always welcome. And in the grand scheme of things, my ministry is more important than any schedule. Homework can wait. Kids cannot.

OK, now that I've got it all figured out - don't let me slack!


why babies cry

With out overstating the obvious, I realize that babies cry because they do not know how else to communicate their needs. They need one of four things: to be fed, to be held, to sleep, or to have their diaper changed. (And if all else fails, sometimes they just need to scream for a little while... for no apparent reason.)

I understand those needs, but there is something about the sound of a crying baby that drives me to the brink of insanity. The noise... I just want it to stop!

While discussing this topic the other night, my friend Dave proposed a interesting theory about the nature of a newborn's cry. Dave believes that God intentionally made the sound of a crying baby to be just annoying enough to compel you to do something about it.


An appeal to CL Butch Otter, governor of Idaho

Mr. Governor,

Recent media coverage has included a story of Kendra Goodrick being sent to prison for a drug charge after receiving a probation sentence due to some sort of error in timing.

I do understand the difficulties our state has combating drug use in our area. I would normally be an advocate of jailing drug offenders.

However, Ms. Goodrick's case is different. The judge originally granted leniency. While probation is not always the best option for an addict, in this instance - it worked. Kendra Goodrick has kept herself clean and has become a productive member of society.

There is another aspect of this case that complicates the issue; Kendra has had a child since she cleaned up her life. As a foster parent, I understand the effect that a drug addicted parent can have on their child. I also understand the trauma that can be inflicted when that parent is removed from the child's life.

The question here is not about what is technically the correct procedure. This is not about whether or not the judge's ruling was within his powers of authority. The question is about the right thing to do. While I have great respect for the law, sending Kendra Goodrick back to prison is not the right thing to do.

Sentencing Ms. Goodrick to a prison sentence after she has proven her intent and capability to stay clean during her probation accomplishes nothing. It is a waste of taxpayer's money. It is discouraging to a recovering addict, not to mention other addicts looking for options to turn their lives around. For common citizens like myself, my confidence in our judicial system is destroyed.

Please do whatever you can to ensure that justice, not a technicality, is served. Please grant Ms. Goodrick clemency. Keep Kendra Goodrick out of prison.

For more information on this case please read: Dave's first post about Kendra, Mom Faces Prison article in Spokesman Review, Kendra's appeal to HBO readers, and Bayview Herb's letter to the governor.

If you are an Idaho resident and you are compelled to do something to help Kendra and her family, please write to governor Otter at his website.


What's Inside

Some of you may have forgotten about the other blogs that I update. That's OK, I occasionally forget about them as well.

There is a new post on What's Inside. For those of you who have forgotten about my other blogs (or did not know about my other blogs) this is your reminder to go read it the new post. It's all about love.


animal recognition

Saturday is zoo day. That has been the thing that we have been using to keep up Chistian's excited about our trip to Seattle. This morning, Christian woke up and wandered into the living room, rubbed his eyes, and stared at his grandma.

"Hi," my mom said. "Did you sleep well?"

"No." Christian replied. He paused for a moment, then continued, "Christian go to zoo." For some reason, my son refers to himself in third person. That may seem egomaniacal in a grown adult; for my son I think it is more due to a lack of an understanding of the concept of self.

Regardless of narrative point of view, his statement was accurate. Today is Saturday, so today is the day we go to the zoo. And there are animals at the zoo. Christian loves animals.

Christian is great at recognizing animals. Thanks to the Brown Bear Brown Bear series, Christian knows his basic animals, as well as some more exotic animals (like macaroni penguin, whooping crane, & water buffalo).

This morning, while everyone was getting ready to leave, Christian looked at pictures of animals and trucks - one of his other favorite things - on the computer with grandpa. All I could hear was my dad asking "what's that?" with Christian giving his response in toddler speak.

My favorite exchange included an animal that Christian has never seen before.

"What's that?" asked my dad.

"Turtle." said Christian.

"No," my dad instructed, "It's an armadillo."

"Arma-turtle?" This is how toddlers learn. You say it, they repeat it.


Lightning strikes and typos

Lightning struck my office building during Monday night's storm. According to a fellow trainer, the strike happened at 9:45 pm. He was in the bathroom and his description of the whole ordeal is quite entertaining - however quite irrelevant to the point of this post.

As a result of being struck by lightning, the building suffered a few traumatic side effects (assuming that buildings can experience trauma).

1. The electricity shut off the instant that lightning struck. This is really a given. Thankfully, we have a diesel generator that kicked in to restore power. Unfortunately, the lightning short circuited the automatic shut of switch that controlled the diesel generator. So, once normal electricity was available, the generator would not shut off and allow us to return to our normal electrical supply.

2. Verizon's phone services had issues, but that was true for most businesses in this area.

3. The power supply for the freshly repaired air conditioning was not connected to the diesel generator. It had been non-functional Monday morning. Yesterday morning it was functional, but had no power.

4. And the most noticeable of all lightning side effects: the elevator was broken. Actually, I think fried is a more applicable description.

Around noon, the elevator repair man was talking to our building's maintenance man - trying to figure out when the elevator would be fixed. Judging by the elevator repair man's response (Every time I push this button it shocks me!) ETA of repair was not any time soon. The repair man said that if it wasn't fixed by 5 pm, he would resume repairs the next morning. It was finally fixed at 5 pm.

Here is the e-mail sent to announce the elevator's repair.

From: Receptionist
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 5:02 PM
To: Everybody
Subject: Elevatot

Is now working. Please feel free to use as needed.

Thank you for you patience and cooperation today we all appreciate it.

Front Desk

Elevatot?!? If one is going to be a receptionist, proofreading is a handy skill. Otherwise, you get responses like this.

From: Smart Alec
Sent: Tuesday, June 05, 2007 5:04 PM
To: Receptionist & Everybody
Subject: RE: Elevatot

That’s good to hear, but how’s the Elevator coming along

Thank you,

Smart Alec
normal employee