Just a Quick Warm-Up Post

i-has-frozenSo my break from the blog was a little longer than my break from classes. But I’m still here, and several blog-able ideas have been percolating in my mind, with no other constructive outlet. Rather than jump in right away, however, here are a few shorter “updates.”

Weather:  As I write this, it’s snowing outside, and has been for most of the day.  We were lucky to spend a nice, warm Christmas season in sunny El Paso, Tx and a few days in Phoenix, AZ.  But that’s over now, and it’s back to freezing, freezing, cold.  Grady is having the time of his life, though, and has already built a miniature snowman, and covered the sidewalk with snow angels.  The other day when I was walking to class, bundled in multiple layers, gloves, hat, even thermal underwear — and still feeling like I might die of hypothermia at any minute — a girl jogged casually past me wearing shorts and a t-shirt.  Sigh.  Guess I’m just a weather-wimp.  Oh well, three more months to go. Then four more years…

Classes:  I’m about halfway through the January term, which, although occuring in the spring of calendar year 2009 is academically considered part of the fall 2008 semester (hey, I don’t make the rules, thank God).  I’m taking one class, which meets three days a week in the mornings: The Theological Legacy of the Dionysian Forgery, with Professor Paul Rorem (who was also my church history professor last semester).  The reading is pretty dense — the kind where you have to read every sentence three or four times before it begins to make sense, and then when you think you’ve grasped it, you suddenly realize you haven’t.  Still, the subject matter is interesting, and both influences/touches on everything from medieval scholasticism and angelology to neo-platonism,  gothic architecture, intellectual property, and even post-modern deconstructionism.  More on Pseudo-Dionysius later.

abbysuitcaseAbby:  She’s not only walking, but almost running everywhere now, and has developed quite a vocabulary over the Christmas holidays.  She yells “Da-Da!” when I walk through the door at the end of the day, and then raises her arms in the air, saying “Wee-wee!” which means she wants me to pick her up and fly her through the air like an airplane (her favorite).  She also *finally* has been letting me read to her, and will even bring me a book to read, her favorites being Go Dogs, Go!; Goodnight Gorilla; and Sandra Boynton’s Moo, Baa, La, La, La.  She dances when you play music, and loves to play peekaboo (which she says “pickabee”). In case there was ever any doubt, she’s definitlely aspiring to be a girly-girl, and will walk around the house with a purse on her arm, trying to steal her mom’s makeup.  She has a particular fondness for jewelery, watches, and cell-phones.  She also says hello, bye-bye, baby, mamma,  bubba, book, no, hat, nose, clock, tick-tock, Grandad, and meow (which she pronounces miamee).

Facebook:  A few weeks ago, I found one of my old friends from elementary school in Belgium on facebook — that led to another and another, until we’ve almost got enough for a 5th grade class reunion.  I’ve reconnected with some great childhood friends, and had to brush up on my long dormant French in the process.  Thank God for Google translator and Babel Fish to pick up the slack.

brewingjeffjoeBrewing:  While my brothers were in town last week, we brewed our first batch of “Locke Bros Beer” all together — they’ve been brewing for almost a year, and  started earlier this fall.  This was my fourth batch total, and it looks to be a Strong Belgian-style Golden Ale.  We haven’t named it yet, though.   I’m almost out of the Christmas Beer I brewed in December, called IncarnationAle.  It got plenty of good reviews, though, except for a few people who were surprised when the cranberry came out of the bottle along with the beer!  Thanks to Philip Lotspeich, Drew Ludwig, and Loren Crow, who each (independently) suggested the same name.

Search for a Church:  As an inquirer on the “ordination track” I’m under care of my home church and presbytery, which means that we’ll remain members of Faithbridge Presbyterian Church in Frisco, Tx during my entire time at seminary.  Still, we’ve been looking for a place to worship on Sunday mornings, and it hasn’t been easy.  Most of the Presbyterian churches we’ve visited in this part of the country are very “high church” traditional, and almost identical in architecture, aesthetics, liturgy and demographics.  Plus, they all seemed to have everything all worked out.  Coming from a new church development, we weren’t used to that.  Some didn’t seem too welcoming, and some didn’t have much in the way of nursery/Sunday school for Abby and Grady.  But I think we finally found a place we really like:  Middlesex Presbyterian Church, in Middlesex, NJ.  It’s about a 45 minute drive north of us, and the one service starts at 9:30am, but the church is very warm, friendly, multicultural, and there are a LOT of four year-old boys for Grady to play with.  The pastor’s name also happens to be Neal — Neal Presa, and I’ve had a chance to get to know him a little via facebook, lunch, and a few other conversations — that’s important to me.  More importantly, we felt like MPC is a place we can help and contribute, and a place that isn’t afraid to be creative and even a little “wheels off” as my pastor/mentor/friend, Philip Lotspeich, likes to say.

New Year’s Resolution:  In short, I don’t have one yet.  Last year’s was the first I ever kept throughout the whole year, and it was an enjoyable experience I think I’ll keep observing last year’s resolution (to only buy clothes at second-hand stores like Goodwill or Salvation Army), just not as dogmatically.  But still, I was hoping to come up with something new.  Something that, while making a difference in my life, also helps to make a small difference in the larger world.  I’m giving myself until the end of January to come up with something, so any realistic (taking me into account) suggestions are welcome.

Blog Posts Coming Up Next: (I have to say this publically to hold myself accountable):

  • Twittering and mobile-internet:  Disruptive or Enhancing?
  • Princeton Theological Seminary:  A School for Wizards
  • Mission Trail:  A New (and old) Kind of Border Fence
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