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Showing posts from 2016

Wednesdays in the Comic Shop with Matt

When it comes to transitions, things can get pretty stressful. Transition to a new job, transition to a marriage or family, or transition to a new place makes people nervous, worried, and fearful. But if there's a constant presence around, that can make a transition a lot easier.

When I went up to spend high school in Saginaw, Michigan, it was a huge transition for me. It's not terribly common for a high school student to board, and unlike my other siblings, I was probably not as prepared mentally for it as they were.

I made friends pretty quickly and got involved in extracurriculars, but there was still moments of homesickness, stress, nerves, worries, and fears. But I had a secret weapon; a solution to the problems that come with transition:

My older brother, Matt.

I was a freshman when he was a senior, and when it came to being a senior, he was a Senior. He did everything: football, choir, show choir, theater, and just plain hanging out with a tight group of friends. It was…

Serenity. Courage. Wisdom. God.

I have a prayer cube that was given to me by a student a few years ago. I routinely give it to one of my students at the end of our day. She or he rolls it and reads whichever prayer faces up.
One of those prayers happens to be the Serenity Prayer, commonly known as the prayer used by the group Alcoholics Anonymous. It ended up being the prayer my classroom used yesterday, November 9, and while I’ve heard it prayed quite a few times over the past few years, it really struck me that day.
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.
It is commonly attributed to a German American named Reinhold Niebhur and showed up in publications in the 1930s before being adopted by A.A. Longer versions of it are available, but the one that is on posters and commemorative stones and yes, even prayer cubes is the shorter version.
I think it is a good prayer to think about right now. Let’s break it down.
God,

Better at the Big House

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On Saturday I got to enjoy some time with my father doing one of our longest and most fun tradition: visiting Michigan Stadium and watching a football game!

Watching a Michigan game is fun, but in my opinion, the best parts of the game aren't the 60 minutes that take place between two endzones. While that is still a lot of fun, going to a Michigan football game is all about the atmosphere before, during, and after the game.

Our game on Saturday wasn't very exciting, but that didn't matter. I was just glad to be back at the Big House!

Parking

Michigan Stadium doesn't have a giant parking lot for games, so most people have to park on the streets and lawns of the surrounding neighborhood. I am quite familiar with the area around the Stadium - I pass by there whenever I attend one of our churches. Normally, it's a pretty quiet neighborhood, but on football Saturdays, the area is completely different.

Pauline Boulevard, where the church is located, is clogged with cars g…

Rooted Colorado: WELS Young Adults

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When you enter a WELS church, what would you say is the group demographic that you see the most? Would it be the families with small children? Would it be the seniors ages 55 and older? Or would it be a group somewhere in between?
Churches often struggle to keep members that are entering their 20s and 30s. These men and women are graduating college, moving out of the home, and beginning their careers. In the midst of all this transition and change, a foundation based on church life might be lacking.
The unfortunate statistics about Millennials and church attendance are no secret. According to a 2014 Religious Landscape Study conducted by the Pew Research Center, about four-in-ten Millennials (adults born between 1981 and 1996) consider religion to be very important in their lives (compared to every other demographic, which were over 50%), and only 28% attend religious services at least once a week. About that same amount are active in a religious group.*
It is very important for young Ch…

Beware of Mid-October

For the past few years, this time of the year gets me a little jumpy. I get a little more reflective, too. This year especially makes me think of two major events in my life that happened at this time - one from ten years ago, and the other from five.

It's not pre-Halloween jitters or anything (though yes, I do despise the holiday). It's just that past history has taught me to tread on this third weekend of October very lightly, because stuff in the past has taken place that's very much outside my comfort zone.

Saturday, October 14, 2006

I was enjoying a nice quiet Saturday at Martin Luther College. I was nearing the end of my Practicum - a four-week student teaching warm-up before I did the real thing in Wisoconsin - and was starting to get excited for a new congregation, school, supervising teacher, and location. (One can only handle rural Minnesota for so long.)

Not only was I excited about that, I was anticipating something I'd never seen in my lifetime - a Detroit …

Pitch: A Pretty Inspiring Show

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As soon as I heard about a television show during the May upfronts that was highlighting the first professional women's baseball player in the Major Leagues, I was intrigued. Am I a woman? Yes. Do I enjoy baseball? Very. Have I slowly grown in my feminist and gender equality ideals? Absolutely!

The biggest question, though, wasn't if this show was going to pigeonhole this show as a "woman making it in a man's world" show, or would the characters be so one-dimensional that it would render it unwatchable. No, the biggest question I had was, "How accurate would the baseball be?"

Happily, not only was the baseball action very well done, but the story was great, too.

If you're not familiar with it, Ginny Baker (Kylie Bunbury) has come up through the minors and is making her Major League debut. She has her allies, like her agent (Ali Larter, the one actor I didn't like) the GM (Mark Consuelos) and a longtime teammate (Mo McRae), but she's met wit…

The Beach Bum

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For the last few years, I was all about the mountains. I could see the mountains from my apartment in Aurora, Colorado. I drove to the mountains to enjoy all the seasons. I skied in the mountains. I hiked in the mountains. I loved that the mountains were always cooler than the other areas of the state. And everyone knew where they were going because the mountains were always in the west!

I knew I would miss the mountains dearly, but since I moved to the western side of Michigan, I've realized something:

I love water more than mountains!

There are many reasons for that, both historical and current. First, my maternal grandparents bought a cottage outside of Oconomowoc, Wisonsin many years ago, and my family would often travel there to meet up with my aunts, uncles, and cousins. The cottage was on a lake, and while the lake wasn't the prettiest, I really enjoyed sitting on the dock and listening to the water lap up to shore.

My paternal grandparents lived in Bay City, Michigan,…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 16

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We're going to start with the mini blurbs this time...

Today's roundup:men's marathonmen's mountain bikingwomen's rhythmic gymnasticswomen's boxingmen's basketballmen's wrestlingmen's volleyballThere was a time, long long ago, when I was convinced that the only two things that took place at the Olympics on the last day were the men's basketball gold medal game and the Closing Ceremony. The reason was because NBC really only aired those two things on the last day. Now I know that there are still plenty of events happening in the morning of the last day, and I got to sample a little bit of all of them!After being so careful last week with not getting spoiled with the result of the women's marathon, I was going to watch something else when the men's marathon result flashed on the screen! Shoot!However, I still decided to watch the marathon because I love watching the marathon. I did notice a lot more security on the course because of the in…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 15

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There are a lot of athletes getting interviewed now that their events are wrapped up and done. Near the beginning of the Olympic Games many athletes are closed up, focusing on their event. But now there's a lot of shots of the athletes parading around, relaxing and/or showing off their medals.

If an athlete is getting interviewed, there is one question that is definitely getting asked to almost everyone, even those athletes who insist they are retiring after these Rio Games:

"So are you coming back for Tokyo?"

The next Olympic Games are taking place in Japan from July 24 through August 9, 2020. For many young athletes, going to the next Olympic Games is a no-brainer. However, for athletes nearing the end of their professional careers, keeping up the training for another four years can be hard to process, especially since most of them have experienced a grueling time of it the past four years.

And then there are athletes like Usain Bolt and Michael Phelps, who keep insis…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 14

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Relays are hard.

The faster they are, the harder relays are.

The closer together the athletes are, the harder relays are.

The moment you attempt to place a stick in another person's hand among a group of people also trying to place a stick in another person's hand while all of you happen to be traveling at a high rate of speed...

...is hard!

Tonight was Relay Night on the track. There were semifinals in the 4x400m heats for both the men's and women's teams, and there were the finals in the 4x100m relay for both the men's and women's teams.

Relay has become a crutch for many teams hoping to get a medal on the track. Sometimes the problems start at the blocks, like it did for the Dominican Republic yesterday in the 4x100m heats. Sometimes it happens in the exchanges.

Okay, it almost always happens in the exchanges. About 95% of the time it's the exchanges.

Yesterday the US 4x100m women's team had an exchange problem with the Brazilian team next to it. Sh…

The Olympic Blurb 2016: Day 13

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I know that a few days ago I was complaining that the media was reporting low crowds at many of the venues. I said that it was normal for the first few days, especially for preliminary rounds, and that it would pick up later on. Well, I have to say that I am stumped by the lack of crowds at the track and field venue. I don't know why they decided to put track and field in a stadium that is far removed from the rest of the Olympic events, in a questionable area, and still charge such a large amount of money for tickets.

Tuesday's crowd for the evening events, which featured three finals, was abysmal. Yesterday, after Usain Bolt ran, the crowds departed and didn't even stay for the last race, the women's 100m hurdles. And even fewer people stuck around for the 3000m steeplechase medal ceremony. Today, the women's 4x100m relay ran their time trial right at 7pm and barely anyone was there, even though the men's decathlon had been going on for a while before that!