Push Play... Randomize

Earlier today, one of the agents in my class asked me what Kind of music I like. I love it when people ask me that. For a couple reasons. First - I'm music obsessive. If you get me started, be careful; I could go on for hours. The other reason is that I'm like the multi-purpose man of musical preferences. Ask me what kind of music I like and we'll probably spend more time talking about your favorite music than mine.

But trying to peg down my favorite music can be difficult. Eating a single can of raw Spam in one bite might be easier than trying to define my tastes in music. (eating a can of Span in a single bite is possible... I've seen it done!)

I'm just saying that my tastes are varied. Greatly varied. For example, I set my library on random while cleaning the kitchen and these are the first ten songs to come through my speakers:

Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner by Fall Out Boy
All I Have to do is Dream by The Everly Brothers
I Just Have to Fall in Love Again by The Carpenters
Secret Slow Death by Illtripp
We are Rock (Echoing Green Remix) by Joy Electric
Killa by Dert (Tunnel Rats producer)
High Enough by Damn Yankees
Drawn and Quartered by Tourniquet
May This be Love by Jimi Hendrix
The District Sleeps Alone Tonight by The Postal Service

I know, it's an odd mix of music. But I'm an odd person. Now my question is if I would find any of those ten tracks in your music collection.


Larry Norman

Larry Norman passed away early Sunday Morning. You can see the official announcement from his brother on Larry's web site here. A day before his death, Larry left this message...

"However money is not really what I need, I want to say I love you."

Good men get it. They know what life is about. The rest of Larry's final statement is touching; I'd encourage you to read it.


Words of encouragement

Because God is never cruel, there is a reason for all things. We must know the pain of loss; because if we never knew it, we would have no compassion for others, and we would become monsters of self-regard, creatures of unalloyed self-interest. The terrible pain of loss teaches humility to our prideful kind, has the power to soften uncaring hearts, to make a better person of a good one.
Dean Koontz
in The Darkest Evening of the Year


Road Conditions (or lack there of)

Washboards, divots, ruts, ridges, potholes and berms - all terms that described our narrowing winter roads this year. As rain and warm(er) weather has returned real pavement to the streets of North Idaho, I want to take a moment to look back at the snowy season and be thankful. Not just thankful for ONE OF THE BEST WINTERS EVER!!! But also thankful that I did not have to experience our bumpy roads while enduring any of the following medical conditions...

Irritable Bowel Syndrome
Spastic Colon
Snow Blindness
Acid Reflux

And finally...



Blogfest pictures

Well, I didn't get as many pictures as I had hoped for, but I'd rather talk to people than take their pictures.
DFO discovers how to use a microphone
Doug Clark shares some humorous Hagadone stories before performing "Hagadone blues."

It was nice to finally be able to put some faces to the screen names of people whose online personas I've come to know over the last couple of years. It was also interesting to see who, in real life, resembles their virtual selves. Bob is just as intimidating in person as he is online, while Thom is as animated and energetic as I expected - if not more so. I'm always amazed to see people who speak about their dogs with the same passion as they do politics. Some of my other fellow North Idaho bloggers, however, were far different from their online personalities. MamaJD is both younger and kinder than I expected. I enjoyed visiting with Brent; while extremely passionate in writing, he's much more reserved in person.

Meeting Kendramama & Tonydaddy strengthened my opinion that Bill Douglas should not be re-elected for County Prosecutor. While he may have been following the letter of the law, it is apparent that he has forgotten the spirit of the law. Kendra is proof that people can change. She's a sweetheart with an adorable baby boy. (Unfortunately, his back is turned in the picture below.)

Kendra, Tony, & family

Bekah also broke out of her comfort zone to spend the afternoon with us "nerds" (AKA, bloggers). I'm thankful to have a wife that tolerates my hobbies. We also brought the Squishy with us - of course, everybody loved her.

Bekah Boo & the Squishy

All in all - good times. I'm looking forward to another year of blogging with the Huckleberries crowd.


Selling Religion

One agent arrived early for my training class this morning, so she chatted with me as I made my last minute preparations. She read the class objectives as I wrote them on the dry-erase board; the first objective was to compare our services against the competition.

"I think sales is a lot like religion," she said.

Puzzled, I asked, "Why do you say that?"

"Because, the focus is why we're better than them."

I've never thought of religion as a competitive sales market, but this agent has spent the last couple of years doing some heavy soul searching. She told me that she had been exploring various religions: Islam, Mormon, Jehovah Witness, Hindu, Catholic, and protestant. In each faith, she saw the same thing - devout practitioners explaining why their religion is different than other religions. Each attempt to convert her was for the same "we're better" reasoning.

We wonder why people are so jaded in matters of faith and spirituality. We wonder why our talks of salvation fall on deaf ears.

Why do we try so hard to sell our faith? Ministry is not the Olympics. Why do we treat it as if a gold medal depends on it?

God is not a product to be sold.

In a sales environment, it is vital to understand what your competition is marketing. But there is one fundamental rule: Never disparage the competition.

Is that why so many Christians falter in evangelism? Is it because they spend too much time talking about what is wrong with other religions? What would happen if Christians spent more time talking about the basics of their faith and less time obsessing over the faiths of others? Why is it so hard for many Christians to say "We believe because ______" instead of "They're wrong because ______."

We should be sharing our faith by the merits of what Christianity really is, not by the inadequacies of other religious ideals. We should be recognized by our love, but too often we do not love in the way we minister. We need to remember that our ministry is not one of condemnation, but of reconciliation.

For Christ's love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people's sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.
2 Corinthians 5:14-20 TNIV


Eat what you are

Bekah's little sister dropped(*) by for a while this afternoon, and was acting abnormally glum. Attempting to cheer her up, Bekah offered chocolate.
"Would you like a snack?" Bekah asked. "We have Ding Dongs & HoHos."(**)
Her sister nodded and stood up to get the treat.
"Be wise in your decision." I said. "Remember, you are what you eat. Are you a ding-dong, or a ho ho?"
She chose a Ding Dong.

(*) I almost had a potentially malicious (yet funny) typo before posting this entry. Thankfully I had my wife proofread it. Instead of saying that her little sister dropped by, I typed dripped. Freudian slip or exhaustion? Hmmm.
(**) We do not normally maintain a stock of Hostess products(#) in the Casey household. But Bekah was craving something chocolate, sweet, and revoltingly unhealthy of the Hostess variety. And they were on sale at Super 1. I bought one box of each. I do not expect them to last till Friday.
(#) Has any one noticed that the names of most Hostess snacks(##) could also be used as an insult?
(##) In case you were wondering, Twinkies(+) do not have an infinite shelf life.(++) My ninth grade biology class tested this with an experiment and proved it false.
(+) I have no interest in trying deep-fried Twinkies, yet I am morbidly curious what they taste like.
(++) Food product with infinite shelf life? Fruitcake.


Real life conversation

(In a discussion about childhood idols)

Youth Leader: Who was your hero when you were ten years old?

Student: Leonardo

YL: da Vinci?

S: No.

YL: DiCaprio?

S: No.

YL: Leonardo who?

S: The ninja turtle.


Super Tuesday

Get out and vote... if you can.

Can you guess who I'm voting for?