Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Sick Home

Well sadly everyone in the Smith Home is currently sick. It started a few days ago with Maddie having a really runny nose and really fussy. The symptoms all seemed very similar to how she was about a month ago when her 2 front teeth came in, so we assumed that it was teeth once again. Well yesterday Shalisa started to feel pretty icky, her nose was running, she had a cough, and I think just felt all around icky, so it looked like the on set of a cold. I was at work, and I felt okay, I was a little tired but attributed that mostly to the fact that I had only gotten 4 hours of sleep the night before. Well come last night while we were at the theatre I started to feel a tickle at the back of my throat, and sure enough I woke up this morning feeling pretty icky.

So everyone is now spending the day resting and trying to recoup our strength, which isn't all bad but it isn't exactly what I wanted to accomplish this weekend.

Hopefully by tomorrow everyone will be feeling better but for now we will all go back to sleep.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Our Darling Daughter

Just wanted to talk about our sweet little munchkin, love of our lives. She's not been feeling the best as of late. New teeth coming in, and her nose runs, and she gets fussy while sleeping cause there just isn't as much fun stuff going to to keep her mind off the pain in her mouth. I have to hand it to babies, as I remember the soreness of my wisdom teeth popping thru...and 20 teeth in 2 years seems pretty cruel, but - no pain no steak.

I am so weird

Of course anyone that knows me is now nodding their heads in unison, but let me explain what I mean.

I am, what I would consider, a pretty social person. I really like people, I can talk for hours about nothing and I just like being around people. That being said, there are several social situations which are like totally normal situations that for one reason or another I just don't know how to handle. I don't know if it was a lack of training as a child or something in my brain is just wired weird. Here are some examples:

This one happened a lot as a child, and only occurs infrequently with my wife nowadays, but it does still happen. Someone will get angry/disappointed with me, very angry but at the same time disappointed with me, it used to be my mom and now on a rare occasion it is my wife. For some reason I don't know how to handle that. I can handle anger fairly well, sometimes not "correctly" (I lash out back in anger at times, other times I am humble and accept responsibility) so I think my issue is more with the disappointment factor, although if someone is just disappointed in me, I find it uncomfortable, but I don't laugh. That's right, if someone is really angry and disappointed in me, for some reason I laugh. I don't mean to laugh, I don't find the situation the LEAST bit funny, but for whatever reason my brain doesn't know how to handle the anger and disappointment at the same time, so as a defense mechanism it laughs. This used to drive my mom nuts (she would only get MORE angry) and until I sat down and talked with my wife about it, it used to drive her nuts. I explained it to her, and although she doesn't understand it, she accepts it for what it is, and actually she says her brother has a similar reaction, so maybe I am not alone in the world in this.

On a more widespread scale in terms of issues and my weirdness is the issue of gifts. I like gifts, I love Christmas, I love giving them and I love receiving them. On my birthday same thing, no problem at all. BUT when someone gives me a gift, like a friend is just trying to be nice and on some random day gives me a gift, I get all weirded out. It isn't that I don't appreciate it, in fact it is quite the opposite. I am so blown away by the fact that someone gave me a gift for just being me and being my friend and being nice to me I don't know how to respond. I will end up saying thank you like a thousand times, look and feel really awkward the whole time, and leave feeling somewhat depressed because I didn't get them any sort of gift. It is the weirdest thing, someone is being nice to me and wants to just give me a gift, and somehow my brain leaves the situation feeling depressed because somehow I feel like a failure because I wasn't able to properly express my gratitude.

So like I said I am weird. The only solace I can take in all of this is knowing that everyone else out there is weird, just in their own unique ways.

So if you are ever feeling awkward and completely out of place, just take comfort in knowing that you probably are but so is everyone else around you.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Smell Em

1987 - World Champions

1991 - Worst to First

2006 - Most exciting season ever!

Friday, September 22, 2006

For those not up to speed

With my brother getting more and more involved in his church plant in Maine and Shalisa and I getting more and more involved in our local church (Shelton First Baptist) I find myself becoming more and more aware of my Christianity and where I stand in it.

When I was a child I embraced my parents religion. I was taught from a very young age the power of Jesus and the cross and became a follower of Christ through my parents instruction and upbringing. It saddens me to say, but I honestly believe that my "purest" form of faith was at this time, as I think it is for many individuals. I didn't understand or argue over issues of doctrine and theology, my theology was the most basic and childish (in a good way) of theologies. It consisted of the fact that I new God loved me and in turn I loved God.

As I grew older I started asking questions about my faith (both to my pastors, my teachers, and myself) and begin to want to have a deeper understanding of God and what he had done for me and why he had done it for me. This journey, which I know will last the rest of my life is unfortunately both a blessing and a curse. As one begins to understand the larger issues in Christianity (free will, irresistibility of grace, security of salvation) one begins to encounter opposing sides in Christianity.

This portion of my Christian journey began before I left for college, but was really cultivated and explored while I attended Western Baptist college (now Corbin College. I begin to encounter individuals who had differing opinions than those of my parents, teachers who provided different perspectives than those of my Sunday school teachers. I didn't question the foundation of my faith, but I did begin to question the issues surrounding my faith. I came to a point in my life where I no longer believed what I believed because others such as my parents or teachers told me to believe, but because I had studied these thing for my own and formed my own opinions on issues from research and experience.

Now as Shalisa and I have moved out of college and are growing roots in our local church I am entering yet a third phase of my Christian walk. I am now taking my belief structure and how I perceive things to be done and applying them in my local church. This is essentially where "the rubber meets the road" in my Christian walk. I have this head knowledge and now I have to apply it to my life around me. And this is actually where I have been struggling lately. The question centers around "How do I make my religion relevant to my peers?"

My faith is based on a very firm foundation and I know where I stand, but I also realize that Christianity, for good and for bad; is steeped in tradition. As I look at the church today I see a church that meets my needs as a strong believer, and I see it meeting the needs of my parents and their parents, by how would I rate the church in respect to meeting the needs of peers? In that respect, if I am honest, I have to say the church is neglecting my peers.

Some people mistake the argument as one of presentation. They believe that if we change how church is presented we can recapture that age group. They say things like "If we offer more 'hip' music we can draw those people in." "We need to have more sermons that address the needs of this generation discussing issues like homosexuality and alternative culture." These are not bad ideas that have no merit, in fact quite opposite they are good ideas that have merit, but the problem is they are the right answer to the wrong question. The church is saying how can we keep these individuals inside the doors of the church, how can we make it so these people enjoy their worship service. The changes they want to make do indeed address those issues (there are obviously more issues and things that can be done, I was just using some examples) but unfortunately I think that is like trying to fix a flat tire on your car after you just got into a head on collision. Sure your tire is flat, but there is a MUCH bigger problem that you are turning a blind eye to.

And the question is not how do we keep these individuals in church, but instead the question that all churches should be asking is "How do we get these individuals into the church?" Often today church leadership mistakes their position inside the community, they view themselves as morally right and just and a beacon of light into their community. The problem with that view is often that is not how the community views the church. They often now view the church as bigoted and outdated. A religion for my parents but one that hasn't been modernized.

The struggle now is how to modernize Christianity so that we can appeal to our generation, without compromising the tenants of our faith. This is the struggle that is currently going on in the church and has both good points and bad. I point you to a paper my brother has written addressing some of the problems that can arise when you try to modernize the church but are willing to compromise your beliefs. You can read the paper at his website

The church is now at a crossroads as we move into the 21st century and we are beginning to see what is classified as the emergent church. The emergent church has connotations both good and bad in today's religious culture, so for a perspective that I think best sums up the current emergent church movement I would like to point you to a recent paper written by pastor Mark Driscoll entitled "A Pastoral Perspective on the Emergent Church. I do NOT embrace such wingnuts who want to change Christianity into some Universalistic religion that is all tolerant of all beliefs. At the same time the current church is incredibly dogmatic and legalistic which causes outsiders to view us as bigoted hate mongers. The key to succesfully moving forward is balance.

For now I will work in the church however God chooses to use me, and I will be praying for my church leadership that God can guide them and direct them to his ultimate goal. Thankfully though whatever issues I may have with how the church is being run, I can rest assured in knowing that God is all powerful and ultimately it will be his will that is done.

I would like to end with a quote by Mark Driscoll that I find especiallly fitting:

Christianity is supposed to be a two-handed religion. In the closed hand of unchanging certainty are to be such things as a high view of the Bible and literalism, commitment to the Trinity, belief in original sin, salvation by grace through faith in Jesus alone, creation by God, literal hermeneutic, heaven and hell, clear gender roles, and loving humility. In the open hand of less certainty are to be issues that are of a secondary nature that we can disagree and debate over without dividing. They would include such things as age of the earth, perspectives on predestination and election, view of the rapture, worship styles, church government forms, and mode of baptism. These secondary matters are not unimportant, but simply less important than the primary matters that belong in the closed hand of certainty.

The longest 2 minutes of my life...

So yesterday my coworker Yvonne took the rest of the office out to lunch at the Little Creek Casino Seafood Bar. First of all, let me just say, that was complete Yum!

I ended up having a pound of king crab legs, and Joel had the same, I think Yvonne and Janet both had a half pound of shrimp each. The prices are super cheap (I think the shrimp was $7, and the crab legs were $18, although if we had gone with a pound of dungeoness crab it would have only been $9). So if you are every in the area, I highly recommend it.

While on the way to the casino we got stopped by the train in the middle of downtown Shelton. Now I used to get stopped by the train pretty much on a daily basis when I lived on the other side of Shelton, but now living in Lake Limerick I can't think of the last time I had to stop for the train... until yesterday.

I HATE sitting and waiting in the car, it is pointless and I feel like I am wasting valuable seconds in my life accomplishing absolutely nothing. So while sitting in the car I begin to get antsy (big surprise there) and started playing with the headrests in the car. I was pulling them out, swapping them around, and in general just being my usual pesky self. Well Janet made some comment about making me run around the car, and Yvonne offered up a dollar to anyone that got out of the car and ran around it. I don't think she had even finished her sentence before I had the door open and was sprinting around the car. I have to say, my lap time around the car was pretty quick and fellow motorists who were also waiting at the train all had a strange look on their face as I went zooming by. Well I got back in the car, refused the dollar Yvonne had offered up (I did it mainly because running around the car and getting a laugh out of everyone seemed to be more worthwhile than sitting in the car and staring at the back of Janet's head). As I entered back into the car I honestly felt that there was a strong possiblity of Janet and/or Yvonne losing control of their bladder at any moment.

We then sat for another minute or so (some laughing histerically, others of us calmy sitting there wondering what was so funny), the train rolled through, and we were off to the casino.

And that was the longest 2 minutes of my life (or at least Janet and Yvonne seem to think so otherwise why would one run around a car?). That was really like a normal 2 minutes on an average day in my life. A long 2 minutes would be when I am sitting at work with my boss over my shoulder as the SQL servers are crashing in flames... thats a long 2 minutes.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Movies, Movies, Movies

So a coworker of mine the other day informed me that they had signed up for Netflix. They have seen quite a few movies and were wondering if I could recommend some movies for them to watch. I always find recommending a movie really hard to do, because my movie tastes really range quite far and wide and I don't want to recommend a movie that doesn't fit the requesters taste. Usually I ask the requester to give me some movies they like, and then from that I will make my recommendation. Unfortunately via the blog, that is a bit harder to do (ask someone what movies they like) so I thought I would post some of my favorite movies that I have watched. The key here is I am going to try and avoid big name movies that say, 50% of you have seen. My goal is to recommend movies that less than 50% of my readership has seen, but are still awesome, awesome movies. Here are 5.

#1 - Le Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain [French](English title is just Amélie)
This one is probably the easiest, because like no one has ever seen this movie (which is a real shame) but it is an awesome movie. There is nothing "controversial" about this film, and I just looked in imdb, and it is rated R [it says for sexual content] but I for the life of me can't think why it isn't rated G (and neither could my coworker who I recommended it to). Needless to say, parents may want to preview the movie before showing it to their kids and not taking my word for it, but I think it is acceptable by anyone.

#2 - Memento
This is was the "breakout" movie by Christopher Nolan (of Batman Begins fame, another great [but too popular for my list] movie). This is a true Film Noir movie. The movie follows a man trying to find his wife's killer, but he has no ability to form long term memory. If you enjoy Memento and want to see more of Christopher Nolan's work, I also highly recommend Following but not his movie Insomnia with Robin Williams, that was pretty bad. Memento is probably the closest to 50% I am going to get of readership viewing, but it is just too good not to put on this list. The movie is fairly violent and isn't suitable for young kids.

#3 - Lola rennt [German](English title is Run Lola Run)
This is a short (81 minutes) film about how life's smallest choices (or even accidents) can have far reaching effects not only in our own lives, but the lives of others as well. It is rated R, but mainly just for language (so if your kids can't read well just turn subtitles on and watch it in the native German :p)

#4 - Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels [British]
This was the breakout film by Guy Ritchie (he of marrying Madonna fame). Guy Ritchie's next movie after this one "Snatch" was very similar but starred Brad Pitt and was wildly successful. If you liked Snatch, LSTSB was a funnier more indy version of that film. It does have a pretty explicit nudity scene when the guys go to a strip club, so just a warning there. There is also a fair amount of violence.

#5 - Ying xiong [Chinese] (English title is Hero)
I decided the list was missing some nice Chinese/Kung Fu action on it. It is in the same vein as Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon but I think is a more visually stunning film, and has a better story line. It is rated PG-13 for "martial arts violence", so you can decide if it is appropriate for your 10 year old boy or not.

So there you go, 5 movies that some of you (hopefully a majority of you or this list is a failure) have never seen. These are all a bit "older" with Hero being the newest (2002) so you shouldn't have too much trouble finding them at your local movie store for cheap, or my preferred method, Netflix. If you like any of these movies, I would love to see a comment (or if you don't, would love to see a comment that way as well) and if you would like more movie recommendations I LOVE giving them, so let me know and maybe I can do themed recommendations (Action, Comedy, whatever) for my next list.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Ahoy Mateys!

If you are having issues, perhaps this will help:

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Warning: Sports Content ahead

Well I just needed to rant about my Twins for a moment. I love baseball, always have, always will. As I was growing up I watched the Minnesota Twins win 2 World Series titles from my living room floor. In fact I would say they are my second favorite sports teams (behind of course my beloved Portland Trailblazers).

Well the last 3 years I have seen 3 major injuries to 2 great, potential hall of fame players, and 1 good player. It started in 2004 with Joe Mauer. If you don't know who Joe Mauer is, well you obviously don't like baseball. The guy is arguably the best catcher in all of baseball and he is only 23 years old. The Twins signed him as the 1st pick of the 1st round of the draft so expectations were high to begin with, and I think Joe has lived up to all those expectations. Well during one fo the first games of the season he was chasing after a foul ball when his catchers gear got caught on a SPRINKLER HEAD on the field, and he ended up pretty much destroying his knee. It was a freak accident, and you could argue it cost the Twins the ability to go to the World Series in 2004, as they spent the rest of the year with Henry Blanco and company behind the plate.

Then in 2005 rookie Jason Kubel got called up by the Twins. The guys was absolutely MASHING the ball, crushing it to all fields, chasing down balls in the outfield, and was generally regarded as a very good hitter that could be an everday player for the Twins for years to come. Then, in another freak injury while playing in an Arizona Fall League he completely destroyed HIS knee. He ended up missing all of the 2005 season and has been slowly working himself back into the lineup this year, but hasn't been quite the same player.

That brings us to 2006 and Francisco "The Franchise" Liriano. He is a rookie pitcher for the Minnesota Twins who got put into the rotation at the end of May. Since becomming a starting pitcher he won 12 games, lost 1, and had an era of under 3 while striking out 150 or so batters. At the rate he was going he would have easily been rookie of the year, and the ONLY pitcher who had equal numbers to Liriano was his teammate and front runner for the Cy Young award (given to the best pitcher in the league every year) Johan Santana. Then on August 7th he had to leave a game because of elbow pain. That is bad. That is VERY bad for a pitcher. The Twins let him rest and rehab for 6 weeks and on this last wednesday Liriano made his return to the Twins lineup. He pitched through 2 innings and was absolute destroying the batters, he hadn't given up a hit and hadn't looked like he lost a single step. Then in the 3rd he threw a pitch, winced mightly and rolled his shoulder as he walked off the mound. And that will be the last we see of Francisco Liriano this year, and potentially we won't see him until opening day 2008. There has been lots of speculation around Liriano's injury, wether or not he will need Tommy John ligament replacement surgery or if rest over the rest of this season and the off season will correct the problem.

Either way, this has dealt a crushing blow to the Twins World Series hopes once again. I still think the Twins will make the playoffs, but if they had Liriano and Santana in the playoffs there was a VERY real chance the Twins would have gone into the playoffs as the world series favorites.

Anyway, this has left me incredible disappointed. Here is to hoping that Liriano's injury isn't a worse case scenario and he can return for the 2007 season. Sorry for all of you who hate sports, but I just needed to rant on this frustrating turn of events. 3 potential rookie of the year candidates all injured in 3 consecutive years for the Twins... unbelievable. At least so far Mauer and Kubel have rebounded, and if Liriano rebounds as well, the Twins have a VERY VERY VERY good young core of players that can propel the Twins in the future.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Hello from Southern Oregon

Well I am writing this post from a hotel down in Florence, OR. Shalisa and I have been spending the last few days down on the Oregon coast. Yesterday we drove over from Silverton and spent the day in Lincoln City. We hung out there for a bit and then today we made the drive down to Florence. Tomorrow we will hang out down here for a bit, visit the dunes, go for a hike or 2, and then head over to I-5 and stop in Silverton to spend the night. Then Tuesday we plan on visiting the Oregon Zoo with Eric, Jamie and Taylor. This will be Maddies first trip to the zoo but I am pretty excited about it because Maddie really seems to enjoy any animals she sees, so this could be a really fun day.

I talked with Justin a bit this morning, it sounded like things at church with the launch of the small group locator online tool went well so that is really good. It also sounds like Justin has a long list of items for me to work on. I am kinda excited about that though, as it gives me an opportunity to donate some of my time and energy back to God and the church, something I have been lacking for the last few years to some extent.

This vacation, although definitely not one of our "bigger" vacations has been a real blessing. I think I needed some time to just step away from some of the craziness in my life the last few weeks. The only downside to this whole vacation is that it has been somewhat of a negative impact on my diet plans. About 2 weeks ago I decided I needed to get on a diet, my goal is to drop 70 pounds, which is quite a lot, but I think doable (assuming Shalisa doesn't get pregnant again anytime soon, that is what killed the last one). I actually was doing really well, I had already lost 12 pounds and was progressing along nicely, and then we went on vacation. It is a lot tougher to "diet" when you are eating out, so my hope for the vacation is just to maintain my current weight, then when I get back to town I can get back into eating a bit healthier.

Monday, September 04, 2006

My "Laborious" Day Weekend

Well, we had quite the Laborious Labor Day weekend up here.

After roofing on Saturday (which I have already covered) I was able to get Shalisa her raised beds built this morning and then went and continued roofing this afternoon.

I am really excited about the raised beds, they were pretty simple to put together (a wood box [with no top or bottom] isn't the most complex of word wooking accomplishments) and they look really nice. Shalisa is going to try and seal them with a water sealer tomorrow, and I hope to start getting dirt as well tomorrow. I figure it is going to take about 3 loads of dirt to fill the 3 boxes, so if I can get the dirt at lunch time, and then empty it in the evening I can have all 3 boxes done before we head down to Oregon this weekend.

While I was working on the raised beds I also started looking at our septic system. As I got to looking at it I realized I could cut off about a foot to a foot and a half on the end caps of each of our septic lines. So I got a saw out of the garage, too the caps off the end to see how far down I could cut, puked at the sight/smell of the awful poop mold, and begin cutting. By the time I got done all of the end caps had gone from being these 2 foot high lawn monstrosities to just an above ground end cap and that was about it. I think with me cutting down the pipes and with the new raised beds going in the front lawn will look really nice next year.

The other thing I am going to work on with these beds is I want to connect them all together via an irrigation system. The idea I have is to have a quick connect hose connector on the end of the box nearest the house, then have interchangable heads inside the box (drip heads vs spray heads, depending on what you are growing) and then have them all daisy chanined together. The idea is that then Shalisa (or even I before work) can hook up the hose, turn it on, and water all of the garden quickly and easily. With Maddie around Shalisa hasn't had much time to water, and since we want more children I think ideas like this, that can reduce the amount of time doing a repetitive task can really pay off. Well that was our busy, but fun, weekend. I hope everyone else had a great weekend, now it's off to bed so my body can halfway recouperate to go to work tomorrow.... sigh.

Crikey Mate!

So sad news in the world today, Steve Irwin, better known as the Crocodile Hunter died in a freak stingray accident. Even though I am not a huge enviornmentalist or conservationist, I do believe that Steve was a very influencial figure in promoting children to learn about the enviornment around them, and made it an enjoyable experience. He is survived by his wife and 2 children (an 8 year old daughter and a 3 year old son). I don't know anything about where Steve stood in a walk with the Lord, but I know his family could use prayers.

In other, less depressing news, I thought I would update you on how I am doing. I decided that daily updates of how I was doing with being motivated were kind of fruitless, in that a lot of my projects are multi-day long affairs and rehashing the same stuff over and over wouldn't be all that exciting to read. So I will try and update weekly, and I would like to also start throwing up other blog posts throughout the week as well.

So, I didn't quite finish the sharing database project that I wanted to finish BUT it HAS to be finished by noon tomorrow (I have today off) so there will be a bit of stress Tuesday morning to get everything done, but I am confident that I can get it done. I also go 8 out of the 9 substations that I needed to survey done, so that was exciting. I also finished, I would say about 90% of what I needed to do for FBC small group stuff, you can see the page (although depending on when you visit, remember it is still partially under construction) at

I also had a good (well, relatively good) time on Saturday. I went over to the Bennett's house at about 8:00 in the morning and begin the process of tearing their old roof off. We removed cedar shakes and 2 layers of composite roofing material that had been laid across the top of the shakes. After spending all morning removing the roof, we broke for lunch around noon. When we broke for lunch the temperature was already 90 degree's outside! By the time we got BACK on the roof, around 1:00 the thermometer read 100 degrees! Jan pointed out though that the thermometer was in the sun so in the shade... oh wait.... WE WERE ON THE ROOF! We got all of the OSB put up by the end of the day so it was a good day of work. I left around 5 when everyone was finished working, and I think they were planning on going back to roofing today.

I told John that I would try and come help, which I hope I can do. But I promised Shalisa like 3 weeks ago that I would build her some garden boxes over labor day weekend, so that is my big project for today. I am going to go to Lumberman's here soon and pick up the lumber I need for the boxes. I think I am going to make them out of 2 - 2x6's 8 footers on the sides and 4 footers on the ends. They are going to be pretty simple, since I will just get a 4x4 as well that I can cut into 1 foot sections to use as corner posts.

Well I suppose that is it for today, I better get to work. I will make a post tomorrow morning from work on what I am going to do this week at work.