Blake Thompson daht Net

Like I was saying....

Category: My So Called Life (page 2 of 7)

It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day…

…it’s a new life…for me!

That is a quote from a Nina Simone song called “Feeling Good”.I think I first heard it in a movie, but I’ve heard it now and then since. But it’s a pretty cool song. But the phrase repeated often is, “It’s a new dawn, it’s a new day, it’s a new life for me. And I’m feeling good.”

As we move into 2010 (do you say twenty-ten or two-thousand-ten?) I think there’s reason to be feeling good. I know everyone looks towards the new year as a time to make resolutions and changes and drop big mile markers on their life’s roadmap. I’ve never been big on resolutions. But maybe I can list out some intentions. Maybe that’s a softer way of saying things. But if I’m honest I do realize changes I need and/or want to make in my life.  So here they are, in no particular order:

  • Read more. Now it starts with me being in The Word more. I really have no excuse. And You Version now has over 20 reading plans that I can download and print, read online, or read right on the iPhone. No excuse, right? But I know it should be my base in life. But I also want to read to my kids more; both the Bible and other stuff. Addie is a voracious reader on her own, but she really likes for me to read with her too. Ella is still putting together how to read, but has grown in her interest lately. And little Rowan, not yet 2, will go get a book and crawl up on the couch and call you over to him. So all of our kids like books.
  • But I want to read for fun too. Good fiction books can really carry me away sometimes. But not only fiction but non fiction too. I want to learn more though books, and from that learning put that knowledge into life experiences.
  • I intend to blog more. I always miss blogging. And I’ve not done it much at all lately. But I always mean too. And then I’ll go back and read some of my older stuff and really get the bug again. Especially if I go back a few years. I need to figure out how to get my way older stuff imported into here. I think I have to juggle some old mysql databases and all. We’ll see. But in blogging more also comes more interactions with other blogs.
  • I want to take more pictures. Whenever we look back at old pictures we always wish we had taken more pictures more often. I got a nice camera a year or so ago, but I’ve been hamstrung with out getting a good lens to go with it. Time to eliminate that excuse.
  • I intend to eat cleaner. I don’t know exactly what that means, but I think I’ve probably got enough toxicity in my body right now that eating “clean” would benefit me in a whole host of ways.
  • With eating better also comes exercise. I don’t want to try to be on any magazine cover. But to gain some cardiovascular endurance, a little muscle, and a lot of flexibility is where I want to go. I’ve got three small kids. I want to be around for their kids…and not just watch them from the recliner either. Without a doubt I need to work on core strength and flexibility.
  • See growth and depth occur in the body of The Orchard. It’s been a great two years, but I think now that we’ve found a place (building) to call our own, we’re about to see lots of potential become realized. It’s going to take work and effort and prayer. But it’s exciting.
  • Serve more. We’ve talked about it as a family, but we want to teach our kids what it means to serve and give of ourselves.  There are many opportunities around Oxford for serving too.
  • Put some work into MissSportsTalk.com. It’s a good site, but it has lots of potential to be a great site. I’ve even considered starting up a podcast for it. I think there are plenty of people who would be willing to help out. And there’s a base of people already there who would listen I think. But articles and interviews for the site as well.
  • Have real conversations with more people. Reconnect with old friends. But use the phone or the email or the coffee shop or whatever to connect with more people.
  • Take my wife on a vacation: just the two of us.
  • Take my kids on dates, just one of them and me, from time to time.

So there’s a quick mind dump. I know I wasn’t very specific with some of them. Instead of “exercise more” I could have said, “Run a half marathon in 2010”, but I didn’t.  Like I said, these are just some intentions. But hopefully they become reality.

But either way, it’s a new dawn…it’s a new day…it’s a new life for me.

Things to think about

I’m still a little numb today from yesterdays loss to LSU. Normally I’d be happy we hung with them. But we should have beaten them. We had first and goal down only six. I thought about it all afternoon. I thought about it when I went to bed. I thought about it in the shower this morning. It’s amazing how much the results of a football game can consume my thoughts and emotions.

Now I wasn’t a total recluse after the game and make the rest of the day with my wife miserable. On the contrary. We actually had a full evening planned. A good friend of ours is the Executive Director of Memphis’ branch of Bethany Christian Services. The organization specializes in adoption services and ministry to orphans and single moms. There was a fund raising gala last night and we went as guests. And even though there was conversation with friends about the game, talk of how close MSU was to pulling it off, and a few woulda-coulda-shoulda comments, I was convicted by the night’s end.

There were videos, testimonies, pictures, and even a sermon about the good that Bethany is doing. But also about the needs that are still there. The atrocious conditions many motherless and fatherless children are living in both locally and globally, and the various ways we can extend both grace and mercy to them. What we experienced made for a long conversation on the return trip home. Beverly and I both felt called to do something. But what? We don’t know.

Help support Bethany Christian Services financially? Provide foster care? Adopt domestically or internationally? I’ve no clue. On one hand it seems scary. So life changing. But on the other….it seems….like something Jesus is asking lots of us to do. Especially in light of James 1:27.

Pure and genuine religion in the sight of God the Father means caring for orphans and widows in their distress and refusing to let the world corrupt you. James 1:27

So as I contemplate the important things…like SEC football and orphans, I have to ask myself which are the really important things. And why don’t they keep me awake on a Saturday night?

Chick-Fil-A opens in Oxford!

Woohoo!

When I was exploring the move to Oxford, I asked Pat, “Is there a Chick-Fil-A in Oxford?” It was that important of a factor. But I guess not ultimately important because I came anyway. But early in the spring it was announced that Oxford would be getting a Chick-Fil-A. I was ecstatic. Well, last Thursday it opened. I wasn’t one of the ones to camp out all day/night Wednesday in order to get free chicken for a year.

BUT I did take the kids to eat supper there Thursday evening. Me and half of Lafayette County. But it turned out to be  the best customer service I’ve ever experienced!

We pull up and we’re in line. A nice lady came to my window to ask if we were dining in or driving through. She assured me that our wait would not be long inside. So we parked and walked in (after further assurances that she would help us exit our parking space which could be blocked by the drive thru line.)

It’s just me and my three kids. Somehow my wife missed this trip. But we walk up to the restaurant and a lady opens the door for us greets us by giving the children each a little Chick-Fil-A cow toy. I start dropping some “Thank You’s” so they all say “My Pleasure.” We walk in and things seem crazy but organized. We find a spot in line and we’re only two deep. Then a lady comes up and asks me if I’d like for her to reserve a table close to the play area. Huh? Are you serious? Sure, why not. So she goes and gets a high chair and all for Rowan and gets a placemat that sticks to the table for him too.

I order my food. She reappears and tells me where my table is. I start to let Addie hold Rowan and send her and Ella to the table. The lady asks if I want her to walk my kids to their table. Sure! Then she tells me I can go ahead to the table if I want, and she’ll bring my food to me. Wow. Ok. Why not?

So then as we start to eat a trey gets pushed on the table and Ella’s bottle of chocolate milk falls off the table, down my leg, and then onto the floor. So someone appears out of no where and cleans it up with a towel. And brings us a new bottle of chocolate milk. Then people bring us balloons, ranch dipping sauce, and ketchup. And napkins.

So we eat our chicken and enjoy things. But as we’re finishing up the girls want to go into the play area. So I send them on their way and then scarf down a bit more chicken while my son finishes his fruit cup. As we’re cleaning up and all, a man comes to help. So I’m thinking, this is awesome! These folks are really wanting me to come back. Everyone was so helpful.

Well I go to get the girls from the playroom Ella is distressed. I see that a small scab from a previous booboo got hit and was bleeding on her leg. So I’m holding Rowan trying to find some napkins. I worker sees me and tells me to sit tight while she goes to get something for her foot. She comes back w/ an antiseptic wipe and a band-aid. I thank her and was about to clean up Ella. But she says, “Sit her here and I’ll fix her up.” She then proceeds to clean all the blood off of Ella’s ankle and foot, and then puts the band-aid on gently and asks Ella if everything is okay.

So this was far and beyond anything I’ve ever experienced. Now I know that Chick-Fil-A brought in some “professional restaurant openers” for the first week or so. But I was in awe. I’ll be back. A lot.

From one bucket to another…

We have an eight year old girl and a four year old girl at our house. That combination makes for some exciting times at our home. Some really fun times and funny times. But that combination can also produce whining, aggravation, frustration, crying, mean looks, and sometimes tears…and that’s just how I sometimes feel!

Just kidding.

An afternoon at Rowan Oak

But at times my two girls get along perfectly. You’d think they were custom made for each other. But more and more lately I’ve seen the two of them starting to act rude, mean, quite disrespectful toward each other. And amazingly often times it’s either perpetrated or perpetuated by the oldest. She seems to purposefully try to stir up and aggravate her younger sister. And my four year old usually is happy to comply and will answer with a snarl, shriek, whine, cry or other sound that I don’t like.

So I have had a talk with them. Actually multiple talks, but the last one was my most serious. I think I realized I need to not let my own emotions get stirred up when a fight breaks out. Usually I get frustrated by the sounds my younger one is making, frustrated by what the oldest is doing to make the youngest make those sounds, and frustrated why the oldest thinks it’s necessary for her to intentionally create this chaos. Why can’t she just act in a nice, loving, humble, kind, self controlled manner?

Of course the answer is that she’s a person. And all of us people have times we’re thinking wrong thoughts and sometimes we act out on them. But last night as I was lying in the still of the bedroom after the whole house was asleep I was asking God to shape their hearts to be more and more like His. And for him to pour into their lives the fruit of His spirit (love,  joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control). But as I prayed I realized that He was asking me to help pour those things into their lives. That my wife and I are to be the primary shapers of who they become. And for me to pour anything into their lives (their buckets), it’s got to be in my life (bucket) to begin with. That’s humbling.

Joe Paslay told me that a long time ago as I was interviewing to work at Camp Lake Stephens. His talk was from the angle of being a counselor and pouring into campers as they are under your watch for the week. But the concept is the same. I can’t give, teach, show my kids anything that I am not already understanding and living out myself first. It’s a concept I have known for years! But as the kids grow up, parenting gets more challenging. I thought I was a smart and awesome dad when I had just one child. But it’s getting more challenging as they grow, mature (and sometimes seemingly decrease in maturity).  And I am going to want them to rely on Jesus more and more. And He is showing me that I have to rely on Him just as much or more in order to show Him to them effectively.

Now…add to the mix a boy who just turned 15 months old…and the next couple of decades of my life will be an exciting adventure!

Favorite Place #5 :: Copper Mountain, CO

So to continue on with my Favorite Places series, we land in Colorado. And I’m not sure if it’s more about Copper Mountain, or the actual snow skiing. The first time I’d ever gone snow skiing was when I took the job as youth minister at a church in Amory, MS. A trip was started, but I inherited the planning process midstream. So not really knowing what I was doing, I took a group of adults, college students, and students to Winter Park, CO. I was clueless, but had important people (doctors and lawyers) waiting on me to tell them what to do.

January 2008 Skiing at Copper Mountain by Bill Dayton

But the trip was good, fun, and built experience. The next time I took a ski trip though, we took the group to Copper Mountain, CO…and I simply fell in love. Now, there’s no real way to explain what snow skiing feels like til you do it. [Before I’d ever put on snow skis I had a guy tell me it was better than “you-know-what”. And he was a divorced guy. So he’d know. I’m not ready to make that claim though.] But it’s a feeling of freedom, a rush of thrill and excitement, and then your brain finally clicks with your legs to actually make getting down that mountain a manageable process, and then a productive process….it’s all over. You’re in love with skiing.

Copper Mountain Skiing by MobileBurn

So since my first trip to Copper Mountain I’ve actually been back three or four other times. The mountain is brilliantly laid out with a rising degree of difficulty from right to left. And to stay in East Village was always our practice. Nice area, not crowded, and the Super B lift is right there to zip you to the top of the blacks and blues. To ride the lift up and look back over your shoulder and see the snowy mountains sparkling in the sunlight…it was the first moment in my life that I was truly struck by God’s beauty. It really took my breath.

Me and Will

But the feeling of the bulky clothes, the horrible boots that are impossible to walk in, the sound of the snow crunching under your boots as you trek to the lift, inevitable wind/snow burn, the burn in your quads as you try to rip down the mountain at the edge of your physical abilities, the gnawing hunger at lunch battling the knowledge that you can spend more money in a ski resort cafeteria than some nice restaurants back home, learning how to manage a folded up trail map with gloves on, the runny nose that sometimes produces frozen snot if the weather is right, the laughter as you watch your friend take a fall that should have broken at least two bones but didn’t, listen to your friend laugh at you 15 minutes later for the same reason, staying on the mountain for as long as possible, hoping to catch the final lift ride to the very top, the last run of the day, taking those horrid boots off and your feet almost audibly crying with joy, the hot shower, the food that tastes better than usual, the funny sun burnt faces of all your friends as you sit around in pajama pants and gym shorts (and shirts too, of course), the card games (kemps, spoons, Australian rat screw, slap jack, and other “physical” card games), the bloody noses, ….and that’s just the half of it!

January 2008 Skiing at Copper Mountain by Bill Dayton

I would go skiing 17 times a year if I could. I like the beach. I really do. But I love the mountains too. And being able to share it with people you truly enjoy being around makes it all the better. You make memories, and can relive them too. I’ve been at the most random of places, and sometimes get a memory so vivid about Copper Mountain that my body almost sighs in regret that I’m not really there.

[If you’re ever looking to take a group trip snow skiing, I highly encourage you to contact Don Holmes at High Point Travel. I’d have been lost with out him every single year we went. Plus he’s an outstanding guy

So I made the jump

I watched with anticipation when the iPhone came out two years ago. A few people I knew got one. They even let me hold it now and then. I witnessed the price drop, the backlash, then the giftcard response by Apple. Then last summer I saw the 3G release and friends left and right were buying it. Only $199, right? That’s not cheap, but it’s not unreasonable in the smart phone market. But I still watched from a far. But now I even got to fiddle with an application now and then over the last year.

But then the 3Gs was announced: more features and still low(?) price. Could it get any better? Turns out Pat was somehow eligible for the upgrade even though he was the first in line for the 3G at the Oxford AT&T Store last summer. So though we didn’t make a “released date purchase” last Friday, we scoured the local AT&T stores after the release weekend for an iphone. There were none w/in 75 miles it seemed.

But yesterday The Wife and I went to the Apple Store in Memphis to grab one. [Pat had succumbed to ordering from the Apple.com store and having it shipped to his house.] I’ve always liked going into an Apple Store, but this was my first purchase in one. It was a good experience.

I was worried at first because I was wondering if they would have any in or not. I’d called a few times since they’d opened and it was only a recording saying they were closed. But as I walked up there were lots of others walking up too. And I walk in and the place was crowded. I tell the guy in the orange shirt what I’m here for and he (I’ll call him Mr. Soul Patch) instructed me where to wait after I told him I had checked my eligibility and was good to go.

I only waited about 8 minutes (give or take) until a Specialist in a blue shirt came to assist me (I’ll call him Mr. Weekend Worker). We didn’t go to a desk or to a chair, we just stood in the software aisle as he took my info, put it in a handheld device, checked my stuff, swiped my card, and then said, “Let’s go activate your phone.” Wow, simple procedure.

The first thing that happened after my phone was activated was to receive a text from Pat: “I just canceled my order.” He knew I was at the Apple Store. So I was going to try to get him a phone as well. Turned out it worked after some initial hesitation. So I left the Apple Store with two 16gig 3Gs iphones (one black, one white).

So I’m pumped. So we celebrate by going for a visit to Target (wouldn’t you?) So The Wife looks as things wives look at. I look at the books and electronics. I make a call or two. And decide the phone sounds “muffled“. But maybe it’s just me. So as we leave I hand it to my wife and call it with her phone. She agrees. So….I take it back not knowing how long this will take.

So I walk back into the Apple Store and wait at the front counter where there are orange shirted folks there. I’m not really sure of the color coding, but I figured I’d just wait here first. But a blue shirted girl walks up (I’ll call her Miss Pessimistic/Confusing). I tell her I just bought this like two hours ago and it sounds muffled, so can I swap it? She gets a screwy face and says, “Um, you probably need to make an appointment with a Genius (they’re in the very back. Must be smarter than specialists and orange shirts) and they can determine what to do. She told me we couldn’t do an exchange, but the Genius folks could swap it out.” Wait, huh?

She explained that again, but it still made no sense. So I told her I was from out of town, drove here for the express purpose of buying an iPhone going to Target, but I didn’t have time to make an appointment. So she said to wait on the orange shirt girl next to her. So I finally get to talk to her (I say finally, it’s been 3 minutes). So I tell my new orange shirt friend (I’ll call her Miss Multiple Piercings But In A Cute Way) my issue. She asks for the phone and it’s number. So she dials my number, hands me a desk phone and says, “Talk!” So I say, “Hey, Orange Shirted Friend, it’s hot outside. It’s supposed to be the hottest day of the summer. So swap my phone quickly and we’ll both be happy and then I’ll go sit in my air conditioned minivan. But don’t let it fool you. I’m still a cool guy.”

She acts like she’s still not to sure about it all. Then she says, “The thing is…we’re all out of 16gig Black” I say, okay, I’ll take a white one if I can walk out here with it and get in my cool minivan with my wife and kid.” So she says, “okay”, meet me over by the iMac. So I do, she brings it, we activate it, and I leave happy. But me ending up with a white iphone (and Pat choosing one) makes me laugh because of this.

So, what have I learned in my first 24 hours of iPhone ownership:

  • It eats battery like no tomorrow. My SE phone could hold a charge for over 2 days sometimes.
  • There are more apps than I know what to do with. But it looks like some cool games for me my kids too.
  • It seems there’s an unspoken fraternity of iphone owners.
  • Little kids like iphones too. My girls weren’t with us when we got it, but they immediately thought it was their new toy.
  • I get nervous when my 4yo plays it. But she’s only played “Memory” so far.
  • My 8yo will be a wiz at it soon.
  • My goal is to keep it out of my 1yo’s mouth. He’ll slobber in the speaker and ruin it otherwise. Like he did two previous phones.
  • I have to get a case soon. I’m too nervous about it getting busted. And it might help me be a little more comfortable w/ the kids holding it.
  • The Wife scoffs at it right now, but she’ll be acclimated before long. I have a feeling.

Got any apps to recommend?

Down to one kid

This weekend we had originally planned to go to Clinton for a wedding and spending some time with friends. But then the time of the wedding ended up being later than we thought, so it complicated things. We ended up rethinking the trip. But…our two oldest still “went away” for the weekend. So now we’re just left w/ the 14 month old!

That means things might be on the calm side for various and sundry reasons around the house. I should get a little more sleep, that’s for sure. But it is also a great time for them to be with family a little bit. And it gives us a little space and we start to miss them too. Plus Sunday is Father’s Day, so of course they’ll need to be back around then.

Today I went up to campus at UM. They are having a basketball camp, and one of the guys from my old youth group was here with his team. So I was going to go watch him for a bit. But as I was going in there was a man blocking the stairwell. I had to say, “Excuse me coach,” because it was Houston Nutt. Nice guy though. So I go up the stairs, enter the room with all the basketball courts, and didn’t know which one was court four. So I asked the first person I saw. It was a tall, slim, bald guy.Turns out it was Andy Kennedy. He pointed me in the right direction. As I was saying thanks, someone came in the door behind me and bumped into me. There he was again, Houston Nutt. Oh, well. Both guys seemed nice enough. But they didn’t ask my SEC affiliation.

Turns out Kennedy was watching two of his basketball signees. One a smooth guard from Jackson, MS, and then big guy from south Alabama. Both were impressive. There were TONS of kids in there. Some teams were better than others, of course. And then there were tons of those kids in the cafferteria as well.

Anyway, after having our church’s VBS site switched again for the 2nd time in a week, going to Tupelo to pick up some tents for VBS, taking down old posters from around The Square, and making fliers, it’s time to go grocery shopping with my wife and son (who started walking last night! I’ll have some video soon)

Monday Bullets

Some things on my mind:

  • Southern Miss made the College World Series yesterday sweeping the Florida Gators  in Gainsville. How surprising and impressive is that? This is Corky Palmer’s last year as the coach. They’re giving him a great final season.
  • On the flip side, Ole Miss lost the last two games of their super regional to Virginia to stay home yet again. This must be getting old for them. I feel sorry for some of my Ole Miss friends. But to some of the vicious smack talkers I have encountered on the internet it makes me smile.
  • Yeah, I know…MSU didn’t even make the post season. Better days are ahead, right?
  • The newest iPhone was announced today. It makes my lust over electronic equipment. I think the timeframe to my owning one keeps shrinking.
  • I started the 100 Pushups challenge again a month or so back. But last weekend I ran out of motivation. Today is the day I decide whether to pick it up again. I made it to week 5.
  • I need to run too. A man in his late 60’s told me yesterday that if I run 3 or 4 times a week I can eat whatever I want to and still maintain my weight.
  • I had lunch at Camp Lake Stephens recently. I was meeting Darrell for lunch. And I’m continually reminded of how awesome that place is and how it’s shaped me in different ways over my life.
  • My old youth group went to BigStuf last week. That is another place/event that’s shaped me in big ways. I know they had a great time, but I wish I could have experienced some of it too.
  • Addison turned EIGHT last week. She’s turning into a mature little girl (most of the time!)
  • This summer I’m leading a Community Group for our church called Twisting The Truth. It’s an Andy Stanley study. Good stuff.

Sunday Bullets

It’s time for the bullets:

  • I’m currently giving Benjamin Button a second shot. Didn’t finish it the first time. It was a slow starter for sure. But people tell me that if you give it a shot it will be really good.
  • The new dog likes to make lots of noise at night. My wife can’t wait out the crying, so she puts the dog in bed with us. That’s just trouble.
  • Went back to Amory today for Mother’s Day. It was good to see some family. But couldn’t get a milk shake at Dairy Kreme. Drat!
  • It’s rained every day for the last week it seems. Some hate it. I don’t mind it. But I do wish my yard would dry out.
  • MSU took two of three from Ole Miss this weekend. That’s right, the HUGE underdog upset the #7 team in the country.  Maybe this means better things are ahead. We’ll see.
  • This past Friday my wife and I celebrated our TENTH year anniversary. TEN years is a long time to me. And it makes me look in awe at marriages that are 40 and 50 years strong. I look forward to our 50th year.
  • Our church, The Orchard, moved from The Powerhouse to The AMP last week. Today was our 2nd Sunday in there. A near packed house again. Good energy. Good Biblical truths shared. I think we’re going to like it in there.
  • Graduation was yesterday at Ole Miss. That means the roads, restaurants, and WalMart will be less crowded starting this week and lasting the summer. Oh, and easier to find parking spaces!

That’s about it. Expect a cool video to be posted tomorrow!

The house is quiet…

It’s nearly midnight. And the house is still and quiet.

I’m not always awake during this time, but usually still up reading or watching or listening or just lying still thinking. It’s also a time for reflection and prayer. And it’s times like these that I realise how much God has blessed me. I’ll think through my dad and see the smiles of my children, the goofy things they do. I’ll think of the couch in my living room that I got to sit on while talking with Beverly or watching an episode of Friday Night Lights or The Office. I’ll think of my dog who doesn’t like to come back when called from the neighbor’s yard because they have more things he’s not peed on yet. I’ll think of my son and the way he has a new laugh and a new facial expression and likes to use it a lot. And I could keep going on and on.

I know I have a lot to be thankful for. And a lot I’m responsible for too. And I think with those combined comes great expectations from God.

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