I’ve taken up some independent contractor writing with a locals-focused website, Examiner.com.
They bring on writers in all sorts of areas… Health & Fitness, Politics, Economy, Relgion & Spirituality… everything category you’d expect to see in a weekend newspaper. The difference is it’s online and exculsively local.
So, I’m a Las Vegas outdoor recreation examiner. My page is here. Bookmark it, stop by every now and then. Digg it if you’re feeling especially charitiable ;)
Also, if you’re reading this, you’re probably somone whose opinion and feedback I value, so article feedback and suggestions are invited!
Each morning, riding my bicycle to work takes about 15 minutes. Heading one way, I listen to Garrison Keillor’s Writer’s Almanac. It’s about 5 minutes, but I really like GK. I could add Lake Wobegon to fill the rest of the ride, I suppose… Anyway, I’m tendering suggestions for a podcast for the return trip. Something in the 15 minute window would be ideal.
I’d like to begin homebrewing sometime. By chance, anyone looking to get rid of a setup?
Anina and I are the proud owners of a 2009 Subaru Outback. Super happy. Pics here.
We have snow in Mt. Charleston, 30 miles away. Nice temperate weather here in the desert valley, and waist-deep snow a super-short drive away… Pics from this weekend.
Should I let Facebook be my Flickr? There’s the 60-pic limit per album, but it seems to be unlimited and free. Picasa and Flickr have great interfaces but I’m just not in a spot to pay for photo storage, given all the free alternatives out there. Thoughts?
Just by posting today I’m surpassing my monthly totals for each June and July… Way. To. Go.
And so much for that “Time to Get Going Again” idea, huh? That’s ok, blogs aren’t about guilt trips. Besides, I don’t want to be a word-trader (see previous post). …well, maybe I concede there’s some sort of middle ground.
I’ve spent the past few weeks in the employment of a company called AppleOne. It’s a temp agency. I don’t think companies like this are below me, but I never imagined working for one. It’s been interesting. My first assignment was holding cue cards for a video that the local teachers’ union was making for all the new hires. Easy. Observed a little bit about union politics and whatnot in the discussions between shoots.
Random info: Listening to the Crowes, B.B. King, O.A.R, and SRV right now.
The next assignment was the Las Vegas location of Barney’s New York. My fellow males, think Macy’s and then go up the retail food chain about 15 levels. Fancy stuff. It’s inside the shoppes in the Palazzo/Venetian here on the Strip. I worked in the shipping/receiving area. Very reminiscent of a job I had at Macy’s in Monterey during high school. Open tons of boxes of incoming merchandise. Sort it. Hang/fold garments. Prep some for the floor, some for storage. And actually, I spent most of my time organizing the storage space there. SO in need of it! I think that the most pleasant surprise was a reminder that the salespeople were mere mortals like us in shipping/receiving. I guess I was assuming them to be as snotty as the stereotype of their clientele, those who have enough money to shop at Barney’s. How’s that for judging?
Tomorrow I’ll be starting with The Apollo Group, specifically the University of Phoenix. The branch here in Las Vegas, that is. Apparently the world’s largest private university. I could see that. My job will be that of an enrollment counselor. Following up and meeting with prospective students who have contacted the university to express interest. No cold calls, thank heavens! Those that know me wouldn’t say I’m right at home in a classic sales position. I’ll be on contract with the university (henceforth UPX) for the first three months, still employed by AppleOne. Then after that time, if both UPX and I think it’s a good fit, I’ll move over to being a permanent employee with them. Now I know that some people have plenty of dirt on UPX… I’ve read it. Pressure for overly aggressive tactics with prospective students. A special “boiler room” for underperforming enrollment reps. Numbers-based pay incentives. From what I can tell, a mix of these types of things happened at various UPX branches, and they got called out on it, and it’s not going on anymore. So I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt. I am absolutely in favor of adults getting serious about education, no matter where they’re at in life. Also, I could really stand to improve my “sales” toolchest. The simple skill of asking people to do something. My struggle here is part of what killed me with my work in Durango. Couldn’t just directly ask people to volunteer with the youth ministry stuff. Couldn’t sell involvement. And if I’m serious about getting back in to pastoral work, I’ll be better prepared for it by being a better salesman.
I just started the coals on the grill. And I must begin tending to myriad culinary preparations. BBQ chicken sandwiches tonight.
Not a single post in June. Oops.
The rumor is true: I did resign from my youth ministry position in Durango. No burnt bridges… I still have a very supportive group of friends back in Colorado. There’s a lot to discuss about what precipitated that change, and it will surely come up in a future post. Actually, I think that’s part of the reason I’ve put off writing here for a while. Felt like I was in the middle of something so huge that I couldn’t blog and not write about all the resignation/moving to Vegas stuff.
Rumor #2: Indeed, I am living in Las Vegas. Close to both sets of Nina’s parents, and a much cheaper plane flight out of McCarran to go see my parents. (Durango was upwards of $400/person for roundtrip almost anywhere.) Also, Nina’s best friend from high school lives here, so it’s good to have a little bit of a preexisting support network. The focus for us being in Las Vegas is to get plenty of quality time together, enabling us to build the kind of foundation our marriage needs for being able to get back working in a church full-time.
Speaking of work, we’re searching. Part of the reason for choosing Vegas to relocate to is its relatively un-recessing economy. There are still plenty of jobs that need to be snapped up here. I’m on the waiting list for my background check to clear with Clark County Parks and Recreation, for a temporary summer position. It would just be something to bring in a little extra money over the summer, but the cool part about it is that it would get my foot in the door for one of the two new full-time positions they just got funding for. My backup plan, by virtue of timing and desire, is an electrician apprenticeship. The construction trades in Las Vegas aren’t slowing down at all. I probably passed the aptitude test that I took a while back, and as soon as I confirm that I passed, I’ll be able to schedule an appointment for an interview to get into the program. However, I have good reason to believe that this appointment won’t be any sooner than September or October. And I will need to be working somewhere before that…
Over the past couple years, my work provided a lot of theological springboards and whatnot for blog fodder. Now, I’m a still hoping to read and write a lot, but it’ll be totally on my own time. No worries though, I should have a lot more time for myself with this new work/home-balance arrangement.
A board game is calling me. And I must answer.
“Be well, do good work, and keep in touch.” -GK
At my birthday lunch today, a friend challenged me to boil down 25 years of wisdom into as many words. I pared as much as possible and didn’t quite make it (which is a good lesson in itself), so we’ll bill the excess word to the year that lies ahead.
When you can’t figure something out,
embrace your standing in a yellow wood,
thank God for the wood,
and travel your path as best you can.
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And being one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could.
To where it bent in the undergrowth,
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear,
Though as for that, the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
Helpful words for me. Thanks, Robert.
Innumerable times a whole Christian community has broken down because it had sprung from a wish dream. The serious Christian, set down for the first time in a Christian community, is likely to bring with him a very definite idea of what Christian life together should be and try to realize it. But God’s grace speedily shatters such dreams. Just as surely as God desires to lead us to a knowledge of genuine Christian fellowship, so surely must we be overwhelmed by a great disillusionment with others, with Christians in general, and if we are fortunate, with ourselves.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
This passage, pointed out by a trusted mentor, has been important for me this week. Sometimes we just need to get over ourselves. I’m not perfect… so sue me.
I’m now a student at the University of Dubuque Theological Seminary. I’m easing my way in, via their M.Div. Online program. I’m very happy that PC(USA) has stepped forward with utilizing technology in preparing pastors. It’s not a degree mill, trust me. This is just me taking one class per semester until the time is right to move to Dubuque and do the bulk of my coursework in residence.
The class I’m taking is “Theology of Mission and Evangelism.” Very excited. Here’s why:
This course begins a series of 3 courses on the contextual nature of the Church’s life in mission and evangelism. It seeks to rethink Mission and Evangelism, seeing them both as part of the essence of the Church and of every local congregation. Beginning with the Triune God as a missionary God this course will focus on changing paradigms of mission and its influence on how we do evangelism in today’s post-modern, post-Christendom, pluralistic society. Thus, evangelism and mission are grounded in a missiological ecclesiology. This required course is part I of the Evangelism/Mission/Contextual Theology sequence.
4 of the 6 books assigned for this class have arrived (alpha by author).
Looks like a provocative selection.
Also, this is turning out to be a really affordable semester. Tuition was $1,485, books were $100, and there were some miscellaneous fees, to total about $1,600. Two ecclesiastical entities I’m tied to kicked in $1,350; and an awesome family from my church contributed $100. So, this class only cost me about $150. What a great way to start off, especially considering I had originally budgeted to spend up to $900 out of pocket.
So… yeah… seminary. I’m excited.
- New pastor
- Swamped @ work
“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man.”
HT: Garrison Keillor
Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus, who, though hewas in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave,being born in human likeness. And being found in human form, hehumbled himself and became obedient to the point of death—even death on a cross.
My beautiful bride Anina and I are visiting my parents in Texas forthe holidays. We just got home from a nice happy Christmas Eveservice. Some carols, lots of candlelight, everyone standing at dramatic moments… you know, the usual. Now don’t get me wrong. It’s great that we celebrate Christ’s choice to come live as we do. It’s totally something only God could do… to choose to take a step down the “social ladder” of the universe. Not up. Down. How often do I choose to do that? So, have you ever heard that phrase, “Imitation is the highest form of flattery…”? It means if you really think something is cool, you copy it.
I guess what I wonder is, if this is the season where I really celebrate how cool Jesus is, what am I doing to copy Him? If I was going to take this Philippians passage and sum up what Jesus did, in one word, I’d say “give.” Jesus Christ gave. Thankfully, this season brings the perfect opportunity to give. (Semi-relevant confession: Anina and I opened our presents early.)
So it’s getting late into the evening on Christmas Eve, and you’ve probably gone out and finished all your shopping for gifts to give to family and friends.But take a moment tomorrow morning, and think about giving a little bit more. Is there a soup kitchen in your community? Is there a food bank? Is there a clothing donation center? Is there a womens’ shelter? Get creative and think of one more way to give before you go back to school or normal routines.
Because Jesus Christ gave to everyone…