Blake Thompson daht Net

Like I was saying....

Category: Stuff (page 2 of 65)

Unexpected visitors to town. Steven Bush and Aaron Ivey [pt 1]

Over the last two years I got to know Steven Bush though his blog and photography. I would email him and ask a ton of questions, and he was more than gracious to reply and give me patient answers.  He was living in Nashville while also part of a band called Spur58. Since that time he and his wife, along w/ their bandmates, have moved to Austin, TX to be a part of a church called The Austin Stone. But I’ve continued to check his blog as he’s gone though an adoption process and expanded his photography business.

Somewhere In the Middle of Oklahoma by

The lead singer of the band and now worship pastor at Austin Stone is a guy by the name of Aaron Ivey. I first heard of him through Bush’s blog because of pictures Bush took of Aaron’s family. As I looked as his and his wife Jamie‘s blogs I saw they too had a heart for adoption and missions. And as a country they have a heart for Haiti specifically.

Somewhere In the Middle of Oklahoma by

So, when I take time to peruse a blog here and there, I’d looked at these guys’ blogs, showed a few pics or stories or videos to my wife or shared them with friends.

But then yesterday Bev shows me the DM and asked if I knew anything about this: there was an add saying that Aaron Ivey was playing a concert that night. In Oxford. At….(get this)…Chick-fil-A. What? How did I miss that? And why did they plan it or the same night I had Community Group?

So the concert starts at 6pm. Group starts at 6:30. But it was a casual night of just soup and hanging out with another group. So I’d miss a little at the front of group and get to see the concert and meet the guys. I sent Steven and Aaron a msg on twitter and said I’d be looking for them.

I make it to Chick-fil-A thinking I’m going to be late, they’ll be starting up and not able to talk, and then I’ll have to leave and basically miss out. But they were behind schedule because of some weather issues. I was able to talk to Bush just a bit before sound check. I saw Aaron setting sound under the tent. Something he doesn’t usually do. He was stressing. I said hey, but could tell his mind was in about 47 other places and had no time for any talk, small or big.

I stuck around for a few songs, but had to get to the Heckel’s house for some good soup with some good people. We talked Friday Night Lights, and football, and website hosting, and mission trips. We talked of Haiti a bit because of the video from Austin Stone I sent out to our group. We talked of maybe trying to plan a trip soon that was similar.

I felt torn. I was enjoying the conversations with everyone, but wanted to catch the guys after the show, so close to 8pm I headed back up to Chick-fil-A. The stage area was being torn down, equipment packed up, and the band was being treated to free chicken and a tour of the inner sanctum that is the Chick-fil-A kitchen.

I got to sit down and talk with them as they enjoyed their free chicken (a friend of mine calls Chick-fil-A the Gospel Bird!). But this post is getting long enough. I’ll continue w/ the rest tomorrow.

Sunday Bullets

It’s been a bit of time since the last bullets. But here goes:

  • Going to Orange Beach was a blast for vacation. That’s when the blog break began. But I might have a story or two to bring back from that trip.
  • I participated in some osteoporosis study at Ole Miss. The were studying bones and such. I barely made it into the age range but had a bone scan done. Turns out I have the hips and spine of a 20 year old. But at least that lets me know that something else is wrong instead of just my bone hardness. I think it’s flexibility. But I credit my eating ice cream and lasagna for my strong bones.
  • The test also told me my body fat percentage and Body Mass Index. It was no surprise. Not overweight, but not ideal weight either.
  • I’ve been meaning to exercise more. Run around my neighborhood some. Maybe join a gym. I realized I’ve not lifted a weight in a gym since I started working here in Oxford. Only a few pushups now and then. That needs to change.
  • I heard about CrossFit from Matt Chandler. Then after reading up some and watching some videos, I’m intrigued. It looks both easy and really hard at the same time. It’s aim is for total body fitness instead of any specification. I might give some of it a whirl. But I’m (currently) inexperienced in any Olympic style lifts.
  • Pat and I started a new podcast. It’s called Everything and Nothing. Catchy title, huh? You can listen at the blog or download it from iTunes. And if you tell all your friends about it you’ll feel good about yourself.
  • I’m still digging the iphone.
  • The Orchard had a news piece done on it last weekend. Here’s the video.
  • Speaking of The Orchard, we might just start having two morning services soon.

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 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?

From the Powerhouse to The AMP

When I first came to partner with Pat Ward and be a part of The Orchard here in Oxford, the church met at The Powerhouse. And actually the first and second time I ever visited there was a different quality about it. First visit was a mid summer visit. Low crowd. Honest Biblical teaching. Moving music. All simple but genuine. The second visit was over Christmas break. So Oxford was empty again. But we were celebrating Christmas. And there were some funky decorations from a dance the night before.

But for the next year and a half I was a part of The Orchard meeting at The Powerhouse. It’s a great place. And sometimes you never know what to expect when you get there early on a Sunday morning to set up for church. Especially if there was a huge wedding reception or a wine tasting or a ghetto booty dance contest there just a matter of hours before we got there.

But for all the great character and variables that came with The Powerhouse we needed a little more space. Specifically childrens space and parking space and a few more chairs would be nice as well. We’d been praying and keeping our eyes open for a while. And a property we’d inquired about before became available. And it was in a movie theater!

I have kept up with a few churches that have met in theaters, but never been to a service in a theater. Most noteable is National Community Church (who’s domain name is interestingly enough). But now that we’ve been meeting at The Amp for a month, I think we’ve settled in. The children’s space is much better for our kids and teachers, people don’t have to park far away and cross busy roads to get to church, the lobby space is fantastic, and there’s not much risk of having to clean up stacks dinner plates or vomit or who knows what else on a Sunday morning.

So…we’re one of those theater churches now. It comes with it’s own challenges too, of course. And sometimes we miss a few things about The Powerhouse. And the people were good to us there. Fantastic peole.

But as we’ve grown from those small worship meetings we had at the beginning, we want to remain genuine and true to our calling to serve Oxford, to be a place where people can taste and see that the Lord is good, and to truly be a place of faith, hope, and love.

Star Trek, I mean Star Wars?

Both are good films. One I watched at a drive in leaning against the windshield of a car when I was three. The other I watched last Wednesday night at the local Malco theater after Community Group was cancelled. Who knew they were so similar? [Don’t watch if you haven’t seen either of them. It might give away a few plot points.]

And then this one is just for free. But it’s Cars meets Talladega Nights.

Yeah, I know….

I don’t know what’s up with the blogging lately. Or what’s not up with it. I used to be the one who’d try to encourage people to blog. And even got a few people into it. But I’ve been a major slacker. I think it’d be easy to blame it on Twitter. And I’ve noticed that a bit more lately too. Some people who used to be really frequent bloggers have moved most of their online voice over to twitter. And I really like twitter. But didn’t expect to give it attention at the expense of blogging.

twitter-logoI guess sometimes when you have a quick thought in your head that would eventually morph into a blog post…if you zip that thought out to twitter through a text message or Tweetdeck, then you feel “done” with that thought. Or at least you look for conversation about that thought through twitter or Facebook (my tweets update my Facebook status…so feedback is there as well).

And this new twitter attention has taken some of the time away from regular blog reading too! But a couple of nights ago when the house was all quiet I looked back through some of my favorite blogs…and realized what I’d been missing. Yes, I like a 140 character glance into what someone is thinking/doing. I mean, who doesn’t want to know that Pat’s power is out again or that Will thinks that love for a Pizza Hut buffet knows no age boudaries. And it’s always interesting to know that Emily has a cold and is going to be early or that Shaq is sending a message to Brett Farve. I like those things. I really do.

But in my return to reading some blogs, I realized there’s so much more to read than just 140 characters. And I want to return to it. [But of course follow me on twitter as well: @statedog.]

Daily Mug Shot

Have you seen this? I found it by coming across Lanny Donoho‘s twitter feed. After checking it out I decided to give it a whirl.

Basically Daily Mug Shot is where you can go once a day (and only once a day) to use your computers webcam (or you can import pictures) to take a picture of your face (your mug). After you do this daily for a while it will then loop all the pictures in a stream (or like a flip book) to where it can be pretty cool looking and funny.

Here is a link to Lanny’s. [Lanny is the guy behind BigStuf Camps and lots of other stuff that’s pretty cool. BigStuf impacted my life a lot. And a lot of kids I took to BigStuf camps too! You should go. Seriously.]

But I’ve got a ways to go before mine has enough pics to be worth looking at. But you should do it too.

Last Day in Greenville

It’s 11:40 pm right now and tomorrow is coming very quickly. Wake up call at 4:30am. Wow. But today and yesterday both have been full.

Yesterday was a church day. Full of it. We got the Grace Church for the first service. Sat through the production meeting to see them run through a few details. When the service started we didn’t go in though. Instead we went to the Fifth and Sixth grade ministry called Fusion. Watched about 73 kids worship and then as teaching began we had to leave. Because as soon as Matt Williams finished the sermon in the 9am service he was leaving in a get away car (or 4 Runner) to rush to a different campus downtown to preach.

So we meet him at the back of the church, jump in the 4 Runner and to go to The Handlebar downtown. We get there as people are still coming in and see the opening worship set and the sermon. And the we repeat the cycle by rushing back to the Pelham road campus for the 11am service there. He gets to the church just in time to get on stage and preach there too.

But again we don’t hear the sermon because we go check out the Seventh & Eighth grade ministry. So we hang, watch for a bit, and see some of the teaching. But then we go back to the main worship service and hear part of the sermon and then the closing worship set. So…that was three main worship services and two children/youth services.

So we go eat at Five Guys and then drive to Clemson and catch part of a baseball game.

Then back to Greenville and go to the satellite campus of Newspring Community Church. A much, much different feel than Grace. And I don’t know if it was because it was the 6pm service or not, but it was a very young crowd. Like over half teenagers probably. The youth ministry meeting was afterward too, so maybe that contributed. But I’ll say that Perry Noble‘s sermon was easily the best sermon I’ve ever heard about marriage and relationships. was the 3rd one of the series. So I have to go and listen to the previous ones.  I’ve read Perry’s blog a bit here and there. And it’s obvious the dude pulls no punches. And he didn’t in this sermon either. I’ll be sure to get a link up for it when it’s ready.

And then a trip back to Grace’s campus to meet with two staff members to go to supper. And that was a full day.

Today has been meeting in really small settings with different staff members of Grace Church. We started around 9am and went through til about 4:30 or 5. I’ve been amazed with the openness and accessibility of the staff. They have gone out of their way to be available for conversation, questions, observation and whatever else we asked of them.

Tomorrow I’ll go through a few things that I learned or caught my attention this weekend. But maybe not til I get some rest. There has been a dare of staying up all night long before the flight. We’ll see!

And …. we’re back … in Greenville, SC

Seems Carlos is taking a blogatical these days. So since he left I’m back. There wasn’t a planned reason for me to be gone. I thought many times “today I should definitely blog again” but didn’t. Not sure why. But I’m back in the saddle. And I could throw out a few more cliches, but sufice to say I intend to tear it up.

Right now I’m sitting at Spill The Beans in Greenville, SC. Flew up here today for a weekend of meeting with the staff of Grace Church and seeing how their staff is structured. We’d met Matt Williams, the Teaching Pastor and planter of Grace Church a few months ago. He was intriguing as was his story about his church. So @willrambo and @rickpike and I are going to be experiencing their weekend worship service, their “new member” class, and some one on one time with various staff members to look behind the curtain and ask some probing questions.

I’m looking forward to seeing how their church leadership strategy is structured and also how their small group ministry is structured. And a peek at their youth ministry events is going to happen too.

So…Greenville, SC. Here we are.

The New Baby

Sunday night while I was at a Super Bowl party with some folks from church, Sarah was getting ready to have her daughter over in Tupelo. And before we knew it, Sawyer Belle Ward was born. A huge congratulations to Pat and Sarah. I think they’re actually returning home right now after a couple of nights in the hospital.

But my daughters were staying with my mom for a few days. And they were asking lots of questions about the baby and if she’d be born yet. My mom was looking on Pat’s blog to see if there was any update there. Alas, he’d not updated there yet eschewing for the other technologies of Twitter and Facebook. But my mom did find this picture on Pat’s TwitPic page. My mom called the girls over and said, “Look, this must be Pat & Sarah’s new baby…”


Ella, my four year old, stared at it for about two minutes. Looking hard at the picture. Then she said, “It doesn’t look much like Sarah, but it’s a cute baby I guess.”

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