Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Funny Funeral thoughts from Olivia

On Monday we took our kids to a funeral home. Tiffanney's Grandpa went to heaven last Tuesday and we went to say goodbye. It was an interesting experience, having our kids there. We kept prodding them to see if they had any questions about what was happening and they were both pretty close-lipped, except for when Olivia asked why he didn't have any legs(she couldn't see them because half the casket was closed). So I started explaining the process to them, that there would be a service and then he would be buried, etc. I could see them both trying to process things and then all at once a lightbulb went off in Olivia's head. She started to look around excitedly and asked, "Is this heaven?" Oh, the things kids say.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Summer Plans

Tomorrow we'll be unveiling our plans for this Summer at church, but for you loyal blog readers, I'll give it to you first.
  1. Summer Camp- We're going to the combined district camp at Silver Lake this year. I've never been to Silver Lake, but I've heard the campus is amazing, plus it's always a pleasure to be able to work with Tyrone Rinta and the team. June 23-27. $195
    1. As a fundraiser, we'll be holding a silent auction/ice cream social on June 1st. Tiffanney and I took about 35 letters to different businesses yesterday in an attempt to get some things donated. If we get something big donated we will probably have a raffle at the same time.
  2. Oroville Missions Trip- I had the opportunity to sit down with Mark and Kristy Schaufler during the NWMN Conference this week and hear their ideas for this trip. It sounds like we're going there to be a blessing to the community and serve people. Putting together a backpack full of school supplies can be just as powerful as a human video or a testimony. But if you can put both together, it's an amazing thing. Late August (not sure of the dates) $225
    1. Churchwide Garage Sale- This year we're thinking about having it during fourth of July weekend. Last year we raised almost $1,000 and took two loads of stuff to the thrift store. Fun times.
In between Summer Camp and the Missions Trip we'll have 6-7 weeks, which is awesome, but I'm thinking that maybe we'll go camping or something. We've gotta do something right?


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Jeremy Johnson knows my name!!!

I'm a bit of an introvert. Right now I'm at the NW Ministry Network Annual Conference and, while I love coming to these events, I have a hard time mingling in the lobby afterwards. It's not that I don't know people, it's a lot better than a couple years ago, it's just hard for me to walk up to someone and start a conversation. Case in point: I'm sitting up in my hotel room blogging instead of eating downstairs with all the other pastors.

Right before the service last night I was talking to some people and a guy walked by that I just knew that I knew from school, but because I wasn't positive what his name was I didn't talk to him until Tiffanney prompted me to after the service. Turns out that we had a pretty good conversation once I worked up the nerve to talk to him.

After the service we went out to eat at Red Robin. Everyone from the conference went to Red Robin. My Senior Pastor knows everyone, so he introduced me to people, but it was a little awkward. When our meal was finished as we were walking out we saw Jeremy Johnson in the lobby, and (since my Sr Pastor knows everyone)we went over to talk to him. As I was getting ready to introduce myself he looks at me and says "Jeff... Graham, right?" I was pretty amazed. He asked me how things were going and all I could squeak out was "I'm reading your book right now." That's it. No profound words of wisdom. He joked about how there were some things he would have liked to change, and then he started talking to Bekah and I didn't get to talk to him again. But it was fun that he knew who I was.

I debated whether or not to write this because I know there's a good chance that he will read this blog at some point and I didn't want to seem pathetic. Do I seem that way? You can send me a comment and let me know. Also, Jeremy, if you're reading this, please send us some words of wisdom, so people know that I'm not making this up.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Proud Daddy Post

I'm a big proponent of giving kids an allowance. Since Kadin was 3 we've been giving him money weekly as an incentive to do chores, but mostly to teach him how to handle the stuff. Studies tell us that most Americans are in debt. They've never been taught to manage money (or at least not in a way they understood) and so once they get a job and a couple credit cards everything goes south. I don't want my kids to be like that. I want them to understand that if they don't have money they can't spend it, so two years ago we decided to give them an allowance. Here's what they've learned by having an allowance:
  • You can't spend what you don't have (at the store they will ask for candy, if they have money they can get some, if not they can't).
  • If you save your money you can buy better stuff (more on this later)
  • They've learned to tithe (the first 10% goes to God)
  • They learned to pay bills (after you tithe you pay Mom back for the hot chocolate she bought you, before you spend anymore money)
  • How to count money (Kadin used to take his out and play with it, but it's stored away so it doesn't get lost).
  • I'm starting to work with Kadin on budgeting, writing down what you're going to spend, on paper, on purpose (in 15 years this should be second nature for him).
Two months ago Kadin decided that he wanted a Nintendo DS. I told him he would need to save up for a lot of weeks to earn enough to buy one. I didn't really think he was serious, but he proved me wrong. That next week we went to an espresso stand and usually Kadin would buy himself hot chocolate, but he decided not to because he was saving for a DS. Then we went to the store, where he would usually buy himself some cookies as a snack, but he decided not to because he was saving for a DS. By this point we were so proud of him, because he was forgoing temporary pleasure for a more meaningful reward, we decided to double the money he saved towards a DS. Easter came and Kadin managed to get $10 (there was money inside some of the eggs). Then came several more weeks of putting off snacks to save money, and about a week ago he had saved $40. We got online to see about getting a used DS, we found one that came with $50 worth of games that was selling for $130, so he bought it and we payed our part plus the difference for the games. Here is the end result:

Kadin is now the proud owner of an Onyx black DS, but more importantly he has learned a skill that will serve him the rest of his life. $5 a week seems cheap compared to lessons like that.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tools I use in Ministry pt3: Pinnacle Dazzle

Last time I posted about how I display powerpoint on a tv during youth group, today I want to talk about one way to get video files onto your computer in the first place. Have you ever wondered how clips from sporting events or tv shows end up on Youtube? For a long time I did. I have satellite tv, a DVR and a DVD burner, but I still couldn't get videos onto my computer that were editable. Enter the Dazzle from Pinnacle:

This handy device allows you to plug RCA cables into your computer via a USB port. Therefore I can now take things saved to my DVR and transfer them to my computer, edit them and then show them as I feel like it. Here is a video that I edited using this process:

There are enormous possibilities with something like this, here's a short list of the ways I've made use of it:

  1. Video Advertisements
  2. For showing funny clips during church
  3. Capturing video from a camera that doesn't have firewire
  4. transferring VHS movies to DVD
A great product and a good value, it has saved me several times when I couldn't think of a clever video on my own.


April Fools!!!

There are some very funny things going around the internet today, and I thought I'd make you aware of some of them. LifeHacker did a story(featuring Google Blogoscoped) compiling all of the things Google is doing for this special day, here are some of my favs:

  1. Google Book search is reporting that they now support scratch and sniff books. According to them: "Using special equipment and tricky JavaScript, we’re now able to capture some of the smells during the scanning process and then embed them in your web browser when you preview these titles in Google Book Search."
  2. Google Australia has discovered a way to index pages on the internet before they are even created. As the LifeHacker guys joked: "I saw this yesterday already and tried to search for “Google Blogoscoped” and indeed, found this post and opened its Google Cache version – I was then able to copy the full text of the post, which saved me a lot of writing today."
  3. I loved this idea from Search Engine Land, which reports that rather than buying Yahoo for 39 billion dollars, Microsoft is going to pay everyone in America 1 million dollars a year to not use Google. It saves them money AND makes me rich. Everyone wins.
And from around the rest of the internet, here are some blogs that caught me off guard today:
  1. Josh from is reporting that he is moving to Dubai, having triplets and that Saddleback Community Church is opening 6 international campuses. And you all laughed when I said that Saddleback is taking over the world...
  2. LaShawn Barber says that she has outsourced her blogging for the last year, which is supposed to explain her unnatural obsession with Hanson (my ghostwriter made me do it!).
  3. And lastly, if you're looking for a good computer prank to play on all those unsuspecting people in your life, here is a website that lists some good ones. My favs were the clippy trick where that annoying paperclip guy from MS Office appears randomly and spouts out nonsense, and the one where no matter what you do your mouse tracks up and to the left.
Happy April Fools Day everyone, I hope some of these made you smile, I know they did for me!