« The What's Up »

I've been a bit quiet as of late. Some of that is because I've decided to pick up a guitar again after a year or so, sit myself down for a while these past few weeks and learn some songs. It is a discipline I have never really engaged in, learning other people's songs on guitar or keyboards. So, lyric sheets and chord sheets in hand, I chip away at at least mapping the song out, learning the vocal part, and hamfistedly working on the guitar part. In some cases, I am working on songs that have no existing chord sheets available online so I've had to resort to actually trying my hand at doing such things myself. I am looking forward again to a period of musical expression, but this time I anticipate I won't try too hard to channel that energy toward recording or writing my own stuff. I have never really approached things like I am doing right now, so this is new and exciting. I have a few songs targeted—songs by Kevin Gilbert, Nik Kershaw, Jethro Tull and others.

I've also been active in church a lot lately, immersing myself in some balance of being ministered to and doing a bit of ministry for others. I am also seated on the board of Christian Education and in that regard, function in the church as an officer with a bit of responsibility, though I don't know that a few months of that has been all that big a deal for me yet. Though I did have a say in inviting Lee Van Ham to the church to do a forum in three parts, and that was a great thing to sign my name to. Most of my effort has been in helping to create a community among the young adults there. I found myself being handed the reins to a barely-scheduled roster of folks back in June and over the summer and since, I've helped shepherd it into a regular gathering occasion and a couple potluck meal occasions and some occasional lunches after church. Beyond the intentional dates there are also budding relationships among the folks who participate, some increased participation in some church activities, and a couple new members. I am quite proud of what has been happening. I also participate in a spiritual development group that has been together for a year or more now. Most of the members are mature women hardly any younger than parental age for me, but we've all come in and been straightforward in our struggles and faith lives, and have had a thriving little community in there too. Some are widows. One pair are life partners. Some are radical activists and others conservative. One is a convert from Judaism. Then there is me, the lone straight young male. We all come and be honest. My church has been a splendid place that has become my family in the total absence of other family (save for Kelli and her family in Florida). I get a whole new set of friends who in various ways plug the holes left by parents, grandparents, nieces and nephews, brothers and sisters. I have to think that my church is church done right.

Then of course there is biking, which is detailed well enough in my other entries on truck mileage. Read the archives. Suffice to say, I am quite proud of leaving my truck parked most of the time, and finding I can bike just about anywhere I commonly need to go, and I can do it on a single gear bike. It has been a good time of transcending my erstwhile limitations. I've also been quite the bike advocate at work and church.

And, at work, I can look at the roster of drivers and claim that half of them have been my ridealong trainees. In fact, for the few days each of them is in my truck, they are the few that I get a chance to get to know some. Many of them are younger than me, and I find myself sometimes saying things that, ahem, sound mentor-like. Actually, it has been quite good to have that chance to do that and then have the opportunity to speak from that experience when I convene the young adult crew at church.

Kelli has finished her schooling (last December) and graduated (in May) and also finished off her chaplaincy education (in August). The past few months has been the first time off since before school started in 2005. She's taken the opportunity to get some fitness activity to help get her past years of a passive approach to healing from her car accident in 2002. She found a doctor who disregarded years of other opinions and encouraged her to get exercise, citing that there was no medical reason not to and every good reason to get with the program. So she's found yoga and water aerobics and has been doing those regularly. Anyhow, she is feeling far better and is in a better frame of mind for the next big thing. She is inching toward ordination, but first has to go before the Association of local churches to get a green light so she can finally circulate her profile (resume, if you will) far and wide, seeking a formal call from a congregation which would then constitute a call to ordained ministry. So, the heavy lifting is done. A couple months more till this Association council, and then she is off and running. I'm quite proud of her.

Oh, and I guess I would be remiss to say that all this is going on even while we had to find new housing on account of our screwball landlords letting the property fall into foreclosure! It seems they have essentially not paid the mortgage on the house we have been faithfully paying on until after we got the notice to sell posted on our door in August. We tried to be in touch with them but they were silent or difficult and the sale date kept getting moved back. It might be okay, you say, but it got to be a pain in the ass living in suspense. So finally we pulled up in a hurry in October and moved with the help of some of the young adults people and one dude from work. I was able to get a box truck from work that we used on two nights. And a good thing. That was some intense shit. Our new house is spacious inside and has three bedrooms, but we got the price we got because it is without a back yard or garage. Buber is good about staying inside, so we don't need to worry about a yard. We miss having a garage where stuff can just be tossed into corners. The closest we have to that here is an attic crawl space that is sizable and keeps the empties.

A word to the wise. Never get AT&T service unless you'll suffocate without it. Long story. Needless to say, I came running back to T Mobile like a repentant womanizer.

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