Tag Archives: YouTube

Stinkin’ Synchronicity

This past Sunday I was given the honor of pitching in relief for our pastor at our local gathering of Jesus’ followers. The text I was asked to address was Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead.

In case anyone is interested:

I thought I did a relatively okay job of unpacking the theme of Life and Death in the passage. Then, in a moment of synchronicity on Monday I stumbled on the blog post entitled “The Stench” by my fellow blogger at Beauty Beyond Bones. She happened to hear a different message on the same passage this past Sunday. She wrote a powerful post that articulated it all so incredibly well:

When I was “dead” in my anorexia, my stench could be smelled a mile away. Aside from the obvious skeletal body and having my hair fall out, there were also things like, isolating myself. Being angry with a micro-short fuse. Lying. Manipulating. Outbursts of venomous speech. You name it.

It was ugly. It “smelled bad.” It was the stench of death. 

But the thing about the story is that Jesus worked through the stench…

I encourage you to read her entire post (and follow her blog). She nailed in a short blog post exactly what I was desperately trying hard to get at in a 30 minute message.

Stinkin’ synchronicity. I Iove it.

My Photos: 2015

Last year I put together a slideshow of some of my favorite photos from 2014. I thought I would continue the tradition again this year. So, for Photo Friday, here is a compilation of some of my favorite photos from the year 2015. Some of them are favorites because I liked the shot from a photographic point-of-view, and others are favorites simply because of the moment and the memory.


Ham Buns and Potato Salad: Epilogue

The past week has been spent resting up from the premiere of Ham Buns and Potato Salad. After a flurry of activity getting ready for the show, Wendy and I hit the wall as soon as the show closed and the cast party was over. We’re just beginning to feel like life is getting back to a sense of normal.

The show went really well. Attendance was above average for a spring production, and our final performance had the biggest crowd of the run which is usually a sign of good word-of-mouth. The cast and crew were fantastic and I was extremely pleased with everyone’s performances. I was so impressed with the effort the actors put in to their characters:

  • Jana De Zwarte and Karl Deakyne had a monumental task of pulling of the critical second act scene between Marian and Thomas (It became known as the “mini-play”). They had me in tears most nights.
  • My wife, Wendy, and Arvin Van Zante did an incredible job of taking two extreme characters and making them authentic without losing the humor.
  • Lily Villalobos was amazing in her stage debut, bringing sweetness and charm to her portrayal of Abigail.
  • I was so pleased to get Griffin Hammel on the stage before he heads to grad school. His energy on stage as Matt pushed the rest of the cast to raise their game.
  • Mark Moreland and Doug DeWolf did a fantastic job of creating interesting contrasts in Arl and Dean.
  • Denise Gregory and Cyndi Atkins, likewise, nailed their portrayals of Betty and Lola. They became the archetypical small town mother and aunt many of us know.

Mat Kelly and Anne McCullough Kelly did an incredible job designing and constructing the set. It captured the feeling of Hebron without being over the top. Props to Arvin Van Zante for his light design and Cody Kooi for his work on the sound. Anne McCullough Kelly and Liz Keeney were invaluable stage managers and kept the production on track.

I have to give a ton of credit to the show’s director, Ann Wilkinson. Ann did an amazing job of navigating a new and original script. She contributed so many key touches to the action and worked her usual mastery with the actors. The show would not have happened were it not for her commitment to helping with the script from its early stages and her invaluable encouragement and feedback through the entire process.

Last, but certainly not least, my love Wendy has not gotten near enough credit for the contributions she’s made to the play from the beginning. She has been muse, cheerleader, critic, and contributor. She has believed in the script from the beginning and given constant investment and encouragement from first draft through production. It wouldn’t have happened without her.

It was fascinating for me to sit around the post opening night party and the final cast party and listen to the actors and crew continuing to talk about their characters and the story itself. I loved the after show conversations and debates with family and friends about the end of the play and the characters’ choices. I was quietly pleased that the script prompted such on-going discussions. The truth is that I found those conversations more gratifying than the audience’s ovations. My desire all along had been to write a play that both entertains and prompts post show conversation.

What’s next for Ham Buns and Potato Salad? I’ve already been asked permission for a 2015 production of the play by Newton Community Theatre in Newton, Iowa. I’m hoping that other productions will follow. I will continue to pursue production and publishing opportunities. We’ll see where it goes. For now, I’m looking forward to a little break.

More video clips from the show:

“They were in a love triangle.”
“Old Man Schuler”
“All the tact of an atomic bomb.”
“I’m in the book.”

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Three Minute Recap of Our Cruise

Wendy and I spent last week aboard Holland America Line‘s M.S. Westerdam for a cruise of the eastern Caribbean. I plan to write a more comprehensive post about our adventures in the coming days, but this morning I find myself a bit overwhelmed, and buried underneath the piles of all that has been building up after completely unplugging from daily life for a week. So, to satiate the curiosity of family and friends who are wondering how our vacation went, I threw together this little three minute slideshow of our trip. Enjoy!

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Jonny Lang & Buddy Guy

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Wendy and I don’t have an official bucket list. Nevertheless, there are a few things that we’ve agreed we want to do at some point along the journey. One of those items was to see Jonny Lang in concert. Lang is not a well known artist in the main stream sense. A soft spoken white kid from America’s northern plains, God reached down and touched the boy with an unmistakable gift. Lang was born to play the blues. I’ve always been a fan, but after Wendy and I saw Lang in concert on DirecTV a year or so ago, we knew that we had to see him perform live.

It just happened that I knew Wendy and I would need a little treat after a long couple of months planning for USP’s 25th Anniversary Gala. So, a month or so ago I began looking for something that she and I could do together on this “week after” at the lake. That’s when I found that Jonny Lang was going to be performing with blues legend Buddy Guy outside of St. Louis.

I surprised Wendy and whisked her away yesterday. We enjoyed a wonderful dinner together then, settled in for a great evening of blues. Anthony Gomes, a local St. Louis artists, was the first act. Gomes’ music was aweseome, but the guy looked and acted like a cross between Wierd Al Yankovic and Wormtongue. Next came a pleasant surprise in the form of ZZ Ward, a wonderful young lady we’d not heard before but with whom we fell in love. Wendy downloaded her album from iTunes during the concert. Next came Jonny Lang. The concert was everything we’d expected. I only wish he’d have played for another hour or so. Finally, it was Buddy Guy who was nothing less than a master bluesman practicing his craft perfectly. They guy has been making records since before I was born (back when they were vinyl records). There’s a reason for his longevity and we saw it on display last night.

I’ve attached the pics I took at the concert in the slideshow above. The worst part of the night was the wee hours drive back to the lake, but it was well worth it! If you’re unfamiliar, here’s a sample of what you missed 😉 :