A Little Green

One of the goals that I'd like to meet next year is to be a little more green. Not the color, but eco. Being green is one of the cool things that we'd all like to be, but there's so much noise, confusion, and misinformation that's hard to know what to do. For one, I think the the extremists on both sides don't help. Some tell us that we shouldn't do anything that hurts the planet - don't cut down a single tree, never run an internal combustion engine and heaven forbid never use a regular light bulb (apparently using regular incandescent bulbs is the single worst thing you can do). The other side is no better. They tell us there is plenty of oil, plenty of trees and that the status quo is good. I think the truth lies somewhere in the middle.

Nearly everyone believes we need to take care of the planet. It's the how that we differ on. If you believe some folks, the simple act of using a CFL (Compact Florescent Light) will save the planet. I think it's a little tougher than that, although I do have some CFLs in my house. Of course, others tell you that everything is just fine and there's nothing to worry about. I'm not sure that I believe that either. I'm no expert, but I suspect we are going to need to make some adjustments in our lifestyles. I want to do my part, without turning into some eco-terrorist.

I was proud of my little contribution recently. Like nearly everyone else in America, I've got a garden hose in the back with a spray nozzle on it. After several seasons the nozzle broke. However, I could not get that *#&$^% nozzle off the hose. The metal nozzle had fused itself to the metal end of the hose. Pipe wrenches, thread releaser, nothing worked. I needed to water the plants so I cut off the end of hose. I figured I'd just have to replace the hose. When I went to the local home improvement store to replace it, I was shocked to find out how much a stupid garden hose is. Then I saw a little plastic end to replace the end of the hose. For a $1.99, I figured I give it a try. I didn't really expect it work, I expected it to leak like crazy or come shooting off when I turned on the water. But I was trying to be a little green, so I thought I'd give it a whirl.

I'm happy to report that it works like a champ! It doesn't leak. It was easy. (And remember, I Hate Plumbing!). And it was only $1.99. Now my garden hose is like 2 inches shorter than it was - no big deal. It's as good as new, so my old one is not in a landfill. The plastic end shouldn't fuse to the new nozzle like the old metal one did. And did I mention that I saved quite a bit of green (cash)? Not too bad.

What little steps are you willing to take to help take care of the planet? That's worth pondering about...


New Year's Resolutions

I'm not much of a New Year's Resolutions kind of person. It seems like I can never keep a New Year's resolution very long. I don't know what happens, but they just don't work. If it works for you - that's great. But it doesn't work for me. So my normal New Year's Resolution is "not to resolve."

But this year I do have some goals I want to accomplish. (Maybe if I don't call them resolutions they'll work better.) One of my overarching goals is to be a better Christ-follower. This one always gives me problems because it's to vague and I worry about being a fake Christian. I end up with read the Bible more, spend more time in prayer and be less self centered on my list. I guess those are ok, but they are pretty nebulous and hard to follow through on. But if you make a more detailed list, you can run into problems too. I don't want my resolutions, oops - I mean goals, to look like this.
1. Get a holier email like IForgiveYou70x7@yahoo.com. (It's available - I checked...)
2. To look more righteous and pious by carrying my Bible with me everywhere I go. (hey, maybe then I could get through the Read the Bible in a Year plan in something under 4 years.)
3. Obliterate all the other Vacation Bible Schools in town.
4. Join the prayer team at church so I can look more spiritual.
5. Follow more theological blogs in my RSS feeds.
6. Include the Bible verse of the day on my blog.
7. Make sure my church website takes all comers in the Church Websites Smackdown.
(list inspired by The Stuff Christians Like and he's WAY funnier than me. You can find him at http://stufffchristianslike.blogspot.com/2008/12/462-making-christian-flavored.html)

Recently I've been dwelling on what's the difference between the a typical, fake Christian that no one likes and a true Christ follower. My goal is to be the later and NOT the former. Everyone hates people who ACT holier than thou. Non-Christians don't like them because they are always all over their case about something. Christians don't like them because they give Christianity a bad name and they're basically a pain-in-the-neck. And I'm pretty sure that Jesus doesn't like their behavior either. I REALLY don't want to be that type of Christian.
I want to be a genuine Christ-follower, not a religious guy.
I want to be authentic, not a fake Christian.
I want to be about people, not about programs, ministries and services.
Even saying some of those things can make you throw up a little in your mouth. They are so over used and cliche that it's disgusting. But I do desire to be better. So I'm working on list that will help me accomplish those goals. It's not easy....

What are your resolutions, I mean goals, for the New Year? That's worth pondering about....


One Last Christmas Post

Yea, I know - Christmas is over. But there's something that has been bothering me about Christmas this year and I thought if I wrote about it - maybe I'd get over it.

I was born and raised in the East and Mid-West. Christmas was a fun time of snow, sledding, lights, Christmas decorations and very typical winter activities. I have fond memories of going to the "old downtown" where the stores were festively decorated and walking around in the cold winter evenings. Christmas in Southern California is a completely different beast. Usually we have sunny skies and pretty fair temperatures (this year was a bit unusually cold and wet). It's a very different feeling to Christmas.

Recently, one of my childhood friends on facebook asked me, "How do you get into the Christmas spirit in California without the snow and cold?" I understood what he meant. When I first moved to So Cal, it did take some getting used to. Christmas just didn't quite seem right. However, you adjust and eventually decorating the palm trees in the front yard while wearing shorts and a t-shirt seems like a normal Christmas.

But his question bothered me (hence this post). Why should it take certain atmospheric conditions to get me in the Christmas Spirit? And what does snow or no snow have to do with Christmas? Again, I understand his question. Certain rhythms or traditions in our lives is a good thing. There's nothing wrong with that. Cold weather, snow and Christmas lights are a great combination that help us feel festive and somehow ready for Christmas. That's perfectly ok. But does it help us get ready for Christ? Or does it help us get ready for spending too much money on too many people? That's a question we each have to answer individually.

I know this year my family made a conscious effort to be less about the stuff and more about the real reason of Christmas. I like that. It feels good. We didn't spend too much money, but we had a great time with our friends and family. Perfect.

I think this verse from The Message says it best.
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly." Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)

It doesn't matter if it's cold and snowy or not. It matters where your focus is. Are you focused on external things like presents, decorations, parties, etc? Not that there's anything wrong with those things, but those things shouldn't be our main focus. Maybe we should be more focused on what Jesus did, and continues to do, for us. Maybe we should be more focused on the "unforced rhythms of grace."

I know where my focus is. Where is your's? That's worth pondering about...

PS - I know I won't be missing the January/February blues when it's cold and nasty. I'll be riding my motorcycle! I LOVE So Cal!


I Celebrate the Day

By Relient K

Merry Christmas!


It's Not Christmas without Some Ho Ho Hoey

Gary Hoey makes some rockin Christmas music. But again, not many videos. Here are a couple of samples.


The 12 Days of Christmas

Relient K style

Angels We Have Heard on High

Relient K does some cool Christmas stuff. But they don't make many videos...


Music Box Blues

One last TSO.

You just can't go wrong with Trans-Siberian Orchestra!

O Holy Night

More TSO. From their 1998 TV special/movie.

Faith Noel

More TSO

We Definately Need Some TSO

That would be some Trans Siberian Orchestra!

Christmas Canon Rock


Happy Christmas

Yea, it's not Christmas without John Lennon

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

This is not really one of my fav Christmas songs. But I've always kind of like John Cougar Mellencamp.... I think that's his daughter singing at the end. Apparently she didn't get his voice.

Christmas Song

Here's a rare one from Blues Traveler

One of my favorites.


God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen/We Three Kings

BNL and Sarah McLachlan

Love this version!

What are you listening to???

What are some of your fav Christmas tunes? Post them in the comments.

Little Drummer Boy

What Christmas is complete with Bowie and Bing?


The Christmas Song

This is always a classic

Dave Matthews and Tim Reyonlds

I've Been Away Too Long

Sorry that I've been far to absent around here. It's just been plain old crazy, busy this year. I'm finally getting a bit into the Christmas spirit this year. I know, kind of late, but hey - it is what it is.

Anyway, I thought it would be fun to post some fun Christmas music from YouTube. So over the next couple of days watch for some of what I am listening to this Christmas.