Last weekend was the Double Decker festival here in Oxford. After dodging some crazy weather on Saturday most of the festival happened on Sunday. And the races got moved to Sunday as well. My wife and I each ran the 10K. You may remember the video I made last year of my race. Well I shot some more footage last weekend, but ran out of memory on the camera. So we’ll see what I can do with the editing.
But Addie and Ella both ran the kids run. It was a one mile race. I was pretty beat from the 10k just before, so I didn’t run it with them. Bev ran with Ella, but Addie took off on her own. I was waiting on her when she was headed back to the finish line. I whipped out my phone and shot a video as she finished.
Since I wasn’t paying too much attention at first, Addie says she was the first girl and second person overall to finish. She’s probably right, but whether she’s right or not she surely believes it! Watch her zoom by that girl in the green shorts!
Back in January I posted a video from the first work night The Orchard had in the new building. That work night was on January 20th. And we’ve come a long way since then.
Last weekend Pat made the call to call it a 95% chance that we’d have church today (March 7th) in the new building. And I think that pushed us to get as much done as we could in the next six days. And there were lots of folks in and out of the doors. There was still painting, carpeting, putting together 200 chairs, hanging televisions, putting together children’s ministry furniture, setting lights, running sound system cable, building a stage, changing light fixtures, replacing facia board, getting the Fire Marshall to approve us, getting fire extinguishers, hanging posters, and probably a dozen other things. And all fo that was just this past week.
But there have been many, many people who have put in many hours to get the building to where we are. And today felt good. And one of the coolest things is that now we don’t need to spend near as much time before and after a service setting up things and then taking them right back down. We have had some great volunteers give their time and strength to that. We have been blessed. But now we get to reorient their efforts/focus to other ministry areas.
The new building still needs some more attention. There’s a punch list we’ll still need to knock out (did you see the bathrooms?). But it’s great to be in a building of our own. But we have to be careful that we don’t allow a building to define us. Sure, it opens up many opportunities and should also make other things easier. But it’s not an end all solution. Our heart, as a church, still needs to be focused on Jesus. And our passions need to be the same as His passions.
So while we’re quite excited about the building, we’re more excited about the opportunities it provides for The Orchard to impact Oxford for God’s Kingdom.
[I wish I had a few photos from this morning. Maybe next week.]
I guess that’s part of being in a town centered around a university. But things ebb and flow here. But I have to admin I like the changing of the seasons. And in some ways it’s almost a changing of the cultures. The city has approx 20k folks, but then you have about 16k college students that come in and out of the city it makes a difference. Plus there’s another 50 or so thousand that like to come to football games, it makes Oxford interesting.
But school started back for Ole Miss this week. And that means that parking places on The Square are now at a premium again. Restaurants are crowded. And coffee shops are lively. Right now I’m sitting in High Point Coffee (drinking a Vitamin Water (coffee…blech)) and I see quite a group of varied people.
A table with five middle eastern women and their baby.
A table with a 60ish year old man in a three piece suit reading the paper.
A few tables of college girls looking over notebooks
A dad and son have been waiting on their daughter/sis to get here. She just did.
Various guys and ladies hunkered over their laptops.
People come in with strollers to greet people, grab a cup of something, and then leave again.
Books are being read.
Scones are being ordered.
The grinder is grinding constantly.
Someone is wearing a coat and a toboggan on their head even though it is 64 degrees
And over the sound system I have heard Backstreet Boys, N*Sync, Madonna, Michael Jackson, and other poppy songs from about 10 years ago. I don’t know who’s working today, but their style of music is different from what it usually is.
But it’s good to be back, experiencing the busyness. Soon baseball will start up and crowds will return. And the Rebel Baseball team will probably under achieve once again (hope so!) But it feels good. Maybe it just feels good because I can wear short sleeves right now, but it was about 14 degrees less than two weeks ago!
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 beÂ 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.
Last year I saw Kem Meyer’s video of her running a 5K in South Bend, IN. I was impressed at the video making capabilities. And the genius of her actually shooting video while running.
Well two weeks ago was the Double Decker 10K race here in Oxford, MS. I was grossly unprepared too. The hills would be my nemesis. And since I knew I wouldn’t be breaking any personal records I decided to make a video of it as well. Here it is.
My wife is always wanting to be helpful. She wants me to be “successful” too. So sometimes she realizes I need a little bit of a boost to get rolling. So we talked about different ideas for a video to make for the church about small groups. But she went ahead and and started calling people setting up interviews to get feedback about why people at The Orchard here in Oxford, MS enjoy small groups.
She kept telling me she was “helping me” when really she was nudging me to help myself. But I appreciate her a ton for it. It turned out to be fun and makes me ready to do the next one…what ever it happens to be. But with a few interview appointments spread out over a few days and some friends in town over the weekend too, I pushed back the editing of the video til last night. Like really got started at about 11:30pm. And then the re-edits and tweaks that no one else would probably notice kept me going back over it. So I finished around 3am [aided by the fact this was my first time to use iMovie08] so we could show it in church today. But I’m all good.
Anyhow, here it is. It’s not perfect. But it was fun and a learning experience. I hope for more to come soon. Tell me what you think in the comment.
A year ago today I started my work at The Orchard in Oxford. It was a pretty large change for the life of my family. We’d spent just over three years in Clinton working in the youth ministry of FUMC. We liked it there. Wasn’t looking for any reason at all to move. But when Pat spoke to me one day about possibly coming to help plant the church in Oxford…it just seemed right.
Yes, even Oxford felt right. Not the red and blue aspects of it. But what I would be doing and who I would be doing it with. And at the time I didn’t realize that I’d be living in my dad’s basement for five months or that gas prices would get so crazy. Nor did I anticipate the chore of finding a house in Oxford. But after looking back on that first day here in Oxford lots has happened.Â
As I said in the last post, I’m going to put together a few thoughts from the last year into upcoming blog posts.
I think I’ve learned quite a bit the last 12 months. But I realize how much more I need to learn, study, and apply myself. I see where God has worked, but I see lots of opportunities to partner even more deeply with God in serving Oxford and Lafayette County.
So I’m sitting in my living room listening to the carrots boil on the stove. Everything else in here is quiet. But I can hear the pandemonium that is coming from the back of the house. My brave wife decided to take all three kids to try to get cleaned off at once. Even she got a bath out of the time back there. But it’s been loud and crazy. I’m sure there’s a lot of water on the floor too. And the carrots continue to roll around in the boiling water (we’re going to mash them up to feed to Rowan… not eat our selves).
Last night was Art With Santa for our church. It’s our 2nd annual event that happens right before the Oxford Christmas parade. Kids come in and make Christmas art projects and get to sit on Santa’s lap if they’d like to. I don’t know exactly how many showed up. But it was pretty full in The Powerhouse for about two hours. And Pat said it was at least three or four times as many people who came last year. [a few pice below].
Then afterward we walked the parade route handing out signs for kids to hold up that said “SANTA, I’VE BEEN GOOD THIS YEAR!!!” The cool thing was that on the back side was our church name and info. So hopefully we’ll have a few more people hearing of us and maybe coming by.
We’re about to eat a little supper, and then decorate the tree. We were afraid it might not fit in our house because the house in Clinton had higher ceilings. The tree is a 9 footer. But it made it barely.
I live in Oxford, Mississippi. And there are lots of things to be proud of if you live here. Especially if you are an Ole Miss fan. But even if you’re not (cough cough) it’s still a pretty cool place. But no place is perfect.
But one of the things I can’t understand is the gas prices here. They are ALWAYS more expensive than the towns nearby. Some say it’s because of the university here, but Hattiesburg (where USM is) always has gas cheaper than Oxford. Cheapest gas right now in Oxford is about $2.35, while in Hattiesburg you can find it for $1.99. But I can drive about 30 minutes to New Albany or Pontotoc and get gas for about 30 cents less?
Why is this? Who sets the prices? Is it the store? Is there a secret union of conveinence store owners in each zipcode that sets prices? Is it worth it to drove 25 miles for a full tank of gas and save 0.30 a gallon?
And why doesn’t some store owner just drop his price 10 or 15 cents to catch those people driving out of town and undercut the local stores a little? Seems like it’d make smart business sense? Or is real estate so high in Oxford that they have to charge that much to cover their own property expenses?
I’m sitting in High Point Coffee for a quick pit stop after paying my speeding ticket. I almost got driving school except for I was driving with a Commercial Drivers License. Nevermind that I was in a regular vehicle and the CDL was needed for my old job. I can’t wait to drop it.
But I’m uploading some pictures to print. So I came to one of the local watering holes. And it’s interesting today. Here’s what I see around me.
Halloween decorations: to the tune of cotton stretched to look like spiderwebs, orange lights, and big black spiders.
A girl with a stack of books a foot high. Most of them had Thoreau on the spine. Surely she won’t need all 9 of them while sitting here.
About four macbooks. One is black. Looks sweet.
Two guys in black suits wearing their shades inside. They didn’t’ realize that look went out when the debate left Oxford.
Sarah Palin is on the tv. But the sound is down so I can listen to something I can’t really pick out on XM radio.
About 6 junior high kids. I tried to take them for young looking high school kids, but then they got up and started moving around and removed any doubt. They they cozy up in the big chairs together and stroke each others face.
The above should be outlawed in some fashion.
New photos on the wall. They each have a little card at the bottom corner. So they’re for sale. I’ll check them out before I leave.
Now CNN has a story on “Atheist Business Campaigns” in London.
Older folk with their younger children sitting and reading at tables.
The junior highers finally left. Now it feels comfortable in here.
Tow friends talking animatedly over a magazine or something.
And some readers.
That’s what’s happening in my neck of the woods. What’s happening right where you are RIGHT NOW?