Saturday, June 30, 2007

Another Cool Memory

I was reading my hometown newspaper today and was reminded of a bit of history that I experienced first hand. Unless you are from Boulder, or are really into running - you may have never heard of Melody Fairchild. I went to junior high and high school with Melody and she absolutely dominated the sport for a three year span. When we were in high school, Melody won something like 12 state championships and two national championships. She still holds state records and a few national records. If you google her name and read some articles you will quickly find words like, "Melody Fairchild is arguably the greatest high school runner of all time." You could not possibly overestimate how good this girl was.
Melody winning a national championship in 1990

Boulder has a race every Memorial Day called the Bolder Boulder. It's a 10 k that attracts some of the greatest runners in the world. The race ends with a lap around the football field at CU and thousands of fans in the stadium. While we were in high school, Melody won the citizens race every single year and our senior year, her time would have placed her second overall in the world class division. The girl was amazing!

I remember in junior high, our PE teacher issued a challenge to us. He said that if anyone could beat Melody in the "Jolly Jog" then no one would have to run the rest of the year. The "Jolly Jog" was a trip around two football fields, three soccer fields, four baseball fields, and 24 tennis courts. We had to do it every Monday and every one hated it. Everyone except for Melody. This was the ninth grade, where the boys are supposed to be faster than the girls. We had one kid, Eddie Panton, who ran like a 4.5 in the ninth grade. We would get Eddie ready all day long to beat Melody. The night before we cooked him spaghetti. In the morning we would feed him pancakes. there was gatorade in between classes. And packets of honey for the run. We were determined to beat Melody. There were about 10 guys, myself included, who would sprint off at the beginning of the run and try to block Melody in. Eddie would always get off to a big lead raising our hopes up, but inevitably Melody would get out of our maneuvering and break free. I'll never forget seeing her pass us. She was so tiny and her long pony tail would swing back and forth like windshield wipers. She was absolutely rock solid steady when she ran. You couldn't break her. And every single time, without fail, she would end up passing Eddie. She would actually keep on running at the end of the "Jolly Jog" all the way into the girl's locker room. She was amazing.

We all knew we were a part of greatness then. Nobody could stop Melody Fairchild. And sure enough, when we got to high school she kept on dominating. Championships rolled in left and right. We used to have all school assemblies anytime our school won a state championship. The way it would work is that all of the current teams would get paraded in before the whole school and they would talk about how they we hoping for a great season, yada, yada, yada. Then they would introduce the state champions at the end and everyone would go nuts. Our girls basketball team and softball team won the state championship every year we were in high school. So it always seemed like it was one of those teams and Melody getting cheered on. We had one about three times a year for Melody alone! I have to admit that the guys on the baseball team were getting pretty aggravated about it. We vowed to get our own assembly one day!

The Boulder Daily Camera recently did a huge story on the best athletes in the history of Boulder County. This would include college and pro athletes as well as local high school legends. You would think with top notch college athletes such as this one:that a high school kid wouldn't stand a chance. But Melody won the award in a landslide as the top female athlete in the history of Boulder!

Melody's story took a wrong turn after high school. Her Mom died the summer after we graduated and then she suffered what many thought would be a career ending hip injury her freshman year at Oregon. The girl who was destined to win Olympic Gold, was not even able to run. I can't imagine the inner turmoil she must have battled. She was a bonified celebrity in Boulder. Now she was unable to do what she was celebrated for and she didn't even have her Mom to turn to.

After two years off of running, Melody went back to the University of Oregon to run again. One thing about Melody was she had this quite amazing combination of a really sweet spirit mixed with a fiery competitive edge. I guess that competitive edge kicked in because Melody ended up winning a national championship her senior year and beating the records she had set in high school.

The story I read today that brought about all of these memories said that Melody is opening her own running camp in Colorado for young girls. She is going to teach them how to run, but she also wants to teach them life skills and talk about how to have a healthy body image. Way to go Melody!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

A Cool Memory

One of my best friends growing up was a guy named Jon Bolles. We met in junior high school and became fast friends. We went to rival high schools, but stayed close and actually roomed together for two years @ Baylor. Jon is a great guy. We still talk to each other every once in a while, but not as much as I’d like. I was reminded this morning of something he did on his birthday our sophomore year at BU. He took all of his buddies out for a milk shake at Health Camp. And he bought! This was a tradition for Jon – to give to others on his birthday.

Normally people receive gifts on their b-day, but Jon would give. Now you have to understand the budget of a college student… Buying 8 milkshakes at the Health Camp was a sacrifice. We thought Jon was the man!

I’ll never forget it – because I remember the smile and satisfaction on his face as he would buy the shakes. It was his day. He was the man. Everyone loved it. But no one loved it more than Jon.

Monday, June 25, 2007

Favorite Verses

In our group that meets on Sunday mornings we were talking about the power and role of scripture in our lives. I asked everyone to share one of their favorite scriptures with the group and why it meant so much to them. The stories behind each verse were a testimony to how real and active our God is! Here are the verses each person chose. I found it interesting that they basically fell into a few categories: prayer, the person/character of God, our purpose, trials/perseverance, and anxiety/worry.

Erin :: Ephesians 3:14-19
For this reason I kneel before the Father, from whom his whole family in heaven and on earth derives its name. I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

Jim :: James 1:12
Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial, because when he has stood the test, he will receive the crown of life that God has promised to those who love him.

Mandy & Crystal :: James 1:2-4
Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

Angie :: Matthew 6:27
Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?

Tracy, Carrie & Allisa :: Philippians 4:6
Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.

Lane :: Matthew 22:36-40
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" Jesus replied: " 'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.' This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."

Jason :: John 17:1
After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you.

Kyle :: Joshua 1:9
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go."

Tammy & Shanna :: Philippians 4:13
I can do everything through him who gives me strength.

Kevin :: Luke 12:22
Then Jesus said to his disciples: "Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat; or about your body, what you will wear.

Joel :: Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Todd :: Exodus 9:16
But I have raised you up for this very purpose, that I might show you my power and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.

Robin :: Psalm 51:10
Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

Greg :: James 4:13-14
Now listen, you who say, "Today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business and make money." Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? You are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes.

Chris :: James 1:17
Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Marc :: Psalm 34:18
The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

A lesson for all the kids out there...

I learned something this afternoon that I thought may be helpful information.

It is NOT a good idea to eat 6 breakfast tacos from Chiloso at lunch, along with some chips and extra tortillas. And then go home and shoot baskets with the kids for 2 hours in 90 degree weather. And then eat three brownies (even in they are organic) washing them down with an inordinate amount of skim milk. And then play in an old mans basketball league game where you are not the fattest person and the referees don't get paid. Old, fat people cannot control their bodies you see - and thus inflict great amounts of pain onto other participants.

I think you should just trust me on this one.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Father's Day

What images come to mind when you think of a Father? Are they good or bad? Or maybe a mixture of both? When you think of a Father - do you think about your own Dad or do you think of God? If you are a Dad, do you ever think about the kind of Father you want to be?

For me, when I think of a Father the images are both of my Dad and my God. I think of the power that a Father has on his children. In so many ways, like it or not, we are like our Father's. In so many ways, like it or not, we want to be like our Father's.

I recently read an article about the 25th anniversary of my Dad's hiring as the Coach at CU. (Click here and page down 3 or 4 times to read the article - it's called "Q&A with a Buff") This brought back many great memories of my Dad as a football coach. There is even a link to a video someone made about his first few years as at CU. I loved my Dad's job and our involvement with college football. And I did grow up wanting to be like my Dad, but not just because he was a coach. My Dad gave our family a vision for something much larger than football.

A Father sets a vision for his family. A Father is the leader of his family. Almighty God is our ultimate Father and He has given us our ultimate vision. I am blessed beyond measure, because my Dad made it his life's goal to love our Father God with all of his heart. My Dad is far from perfect, but he passed onto our family a vision to live our lives wholehearted for Jesus Christ. My Dad is my hero and on my very best days, I am a little bit like him. I could say so much more about my Dad, but I'll leave you with this - I don't know anyone else in the world who loves Jesus more than my Dad. That's the kind of man he is and the kind of man I want to be.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Tiger Bait

LSU bounces back from the dismal showing last week at Disney. I sported the purple and gold around town today at an art store, a Whole Foods, and a Wal-mart. I had 19 responses including four people who said their Dad went to LSU. Of course, I'm the only one who can say their nephew is going there to play football. Yeah - it feels good.

All 19 people who said something were at Wal-mart - not sure what that means...

Friday, June 15, 2007

Just Doing My Community Service...

Prepare yourself for an announcement that will rock your world. Every year Rowlett, Texas (neighboring city to my much cooler hometown of Rockwall) has a big concert to celebrate our countries freedom. It's usually on or near the 4th of July, but this year they had to move it up a week to draw the top talent. This one event may put Rowlett on the map. Are you ready?

Dr. Noah Drake will be performing live on stage at the Rowlett Wet Zone on Saturday, June 23rd. One night only people. The fireworks spectacular begins at 9:30 pm and showtime is at 9:45 pm. I guess that doesn't leave a lot of time for the spectacular, but rumor has it the show will more than make up for that!

Who is Dr. Noah Drake you might ask? Just ask any lady over 35 and they will be sure to tell of the 80's heart throb from TV's General Hospital. Ask someone under 35 and they will know him better for his given name of Rick Springfield and more importantly his greatest hit, Jesse's Girl.

Needless to say, I think we are all appreciative that we live in a country where quality performers such as Mr. Springfield are still given their proper due.

Please enjoy a picture of the billboard I drive by everyday. And remember, there is no need to thank me for enlightening you with such quality, timely, and culturally relevant information - I'm just dropping knowledge on my peeps. That's just simply what I am here for.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Not naïve simplicity :: It’s all about Jesus

I had the blessing of attending my Commencement Ceremony from Fuller Theological Seminary last Saturday. It was pretty cool because we had already planned our trip to Disney and it happened to fall on the weekend of graduation. Dr. Richard J. Mouw, the President at Fuller, delivered a charge to the graduates. In his message he talked about all of the things we had been taught at Seminary: exegesis, systematic theology, contextualization, globalization, worldviews, anthropology, and the list went on. Then he said that he was glad that we wrestled with all of those important issues, but… there is only one thing that really matters as we leave the confines of academia and enter into our ministry. Make sure that it is all about Jesus! If our ministry is preaching, then preach Jesus. If our ministry is inner city work, then emulate Jesus. If our ministry is administrative, then honor Jesus. If our ministry is (fill in the blank), then Jesus, Jesus, Jesus. He said that he believes all that we studied was necessary as long as we make it all about Jesus.

He said that he realizes that this sounds very simple, and it does so because it is. But it is not naïve simplicity. His charge was that it is because of our efforts in digging through the scriptures and studying theology that we can truly appreciate the simplicity of Jesus. If you just take our God and say He is simple, then you are missing out. It’s only after you struggle, and pray, and go after Him that you can truly understand the simplicity.

I think that’s why we hear a message at church or go through a Bible study and if the end result is about reading your Bible, or spending time with God in prayer, or obedience then we get frustrated. We say we want something fresh, but we always seem to get the same answers. We think it’s too simplistic. And it is too simple, if we haven’t taken the time to struggle with our faith. It’s the times that we go through trials and lean on our relationship with Him that we figure out that it was the time in the word, the nights of crying out to God in prayer, and the small acts of obedience that kept us going.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The wait is a part of the ride

One of the things that struck me visiting Disney this time was that the wait was a part of the ride. Disney does an amazing job at creating an experience. They think of everything. They even call their employees Cast Members and it seems like most of them take on a “role” as they do their job. But what really got me this time was the waiting in line. Every ride had some sort of programming involved in the actual waiting area. For the Indiana Jones ride you walk through this amazing cavern underground to get to the ride. All along the way seeing different inscriptions or pieces of bamboo or jewels that take you to another place. In The Haunted Mansion you walk into a room to listen to a spooky recording. Then the room begins to stretch and spin and you begin to wonder if everything is going to be okay. In the Tower of Terror they take you back in the recesses of the hotel with props like this one.

This furnace helps to create a look that feels almost like a dungeon, all to get you into the right frame of mind before you ever step foot on the ride. They do all of this just to maximize your experience on the actual ride.

That got me thinking about my faith in Christ. The “rides” for me might be a chance to speak to a group about God. Or an opportunity to lead a mission trip. Or the planning and execution of one of our events that we do. My problem is that I don’t always treat the wait as a part of the ride. That’s a shame. I need to be more alert to the fact that every aspect of our lives is a part of the ride. God is never at rest. Life is always in motion. Even the moments that appear like waiting are opportunities to use our faith. I need to think more like the people who design the rides at Disney. I need to realize that the wait is a part of the ride.

The Disney Frenzy

People go nuts over Disney stuff. This fella below is sporting the mouse ears on the top hat. Now I admit - it's a fine look, but I do wonder if he will ever wear them again.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hide God's Word

As a kid I was scared of roller coasters. I think it wasn’t until high school that I really started to like them. This last week I was reminded of why I was so scared of roller coasters…

Our family spent the week at Disneyland and we were maniacs. We got the most out of the fast pass system riding every ride the park had to offer – and many of those multiple times. Our favorite section was Paradise Pier in California Adventure. And my seven year old daughter, Macy, declared California Screamin her favorite ride. California Screamin is THE big roller coaster at Disney and you can see Macy in the pic in front of the loop where you hang upside down.

By Thursday we had been on California Screamin multiple times and there were only two rides in the whole park we had yet to conquer. One of these is called the Maliboomer (I call it the blaster). This thing shoots you 180 feet into the air at 40 mph and I promise you that it takes about two seconds to get there. Then it kind of bounces you up and down. But that was not the ride that brought back the flood of childhood memories. No – it was the next ride we rode… The Orange Stinger. This is a glorified swing. It gently lifts you in the air swinging around and around letting the wind hit your face at a nice methodical pace. As we buckled in the chairs, the memories started to come back. Maybe it was something I suppressed? Who knows? When we took off the feeling rushed through my stomach and the memories were full on. I was taken back to some backwoods town in Oklahoma at the tender age of seven. I now remember it well. We were on the Orange Stinger like ride and I was terrified. I screamed so bad I made them stop the entire ride. I wouldn’t get on any other rides for years. I think I actually clawed my Mom’s friend who sat with me to the point of bloodshed.

Well… in a matter of seconds, I was literally taken back to that moment and was once again full of fear. At the grown up age of 28 (for the sixth consecutive year) I was actually scared on this swingie thing. Without even subconsciously thinking, in the midst of that fear, I involuntarily began singing a worship song and my heart was immediately calmed.

The worship song I began to sing was one that I started singing as junior in high school to help me combat my own struggle with anger as a teenager. When I played sports, I used to get fired up to the point where it wasn’t healthy, nor was it benefiting my game. By the time I was a junior in high school, I also realized that it was hurting my witness. So I would sing this one worship song in my head over and over as a way to meditate on the word of God and keep my head clear. I couldn’t believe that the same worship song popped into my head in that moment. I guess that’s what people mean when they say we should hide Gods word in our heart. As we dwell on scripture it resides in us and then even when we don’t ask for it – it comes out of us. I know it’s a silly example, but I was thankful that God’s word came out for me like that. Not just so I could get through The Orange Stinger, although that was a nice by-product. But because God once again showed me that His word is living and active.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Back from Vacation - in need of help!

I am swamped today. I just came off a week of vacation where I totally tuned out of work. No emails, no phone calls, nothing. Didn’t even think about it. It was grand. But now I am back in it and way behind. On days like this I like to pick a scripture to focus on throughout the day. Since I am already a little stressed, I lean on God’s word to guide me and shape me throughout the day. I find it helpful to just focus on one or two verses and let them speak to me all day. I think this is a large part of meditating on the scriptures. Today I chose Hebrews 4:14-16.

“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

I love Jesus. I love that He is my High Priest. I love that He is relational. I am blown away by the fact that I can approach Him with confidence that He will give grace and mercy to me. That comforts me. That drives me to want more of Him.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Lost, Tigers and Bears ... Oh My!

I decided to conduct my own NCAA research project while at Disney. My goal was to measure the amount of fans I could meet from two of my favorite schools. To be qualified as a fan (from the word fanatic) you had to say something to me about the shirt I was wearing. I even said “Go Buffs” nine different times to people I saw wearing CU stuff to prime the pump a little.

First up was the Baylor Bears. My Alma matter and coming off a successful showing in two sports few human beings have ever watched: college tennis and college softball. In an effort to gain more support, six of the 10 people in my party were wearing Baylor T-shirts that day (as evidenced by the nice Splash Mountain photo below).

Day two was going to be LSU. I had previous Disney experience with LSU and was sure the Tigers fans would show up strong. The early polls had the Bears as Tiger Bait…

Day One – Three people commented to me about my Baylor shirt. One Cast Member said – hey Baylor people – you’re next. Once lady asked me, “where’s Baylor?” And one guy shouted “Sic ‘em” as he walked past me. Day Two – LSU was shut out. Nothing. Not one person said anything. I feel the need to post a pic of myself so you can see that this was no small “LSU” on my shirt. I was representing.

I began to reason about the shutout. Making up things in my head like – maybe all Tiger fans go to Orlando – its closer. Yeah – that makes sense. Or – perhaps they are still working or in school. But knowing all of the out of work Tiger fans that I personally know – I simple knew that these were just excuses that I was making to feel better about the situation. So I went cultural the next day and threw on a LOST t-shirt. I had two head nods as I entered the park. One person stopped me and said that was their favorite show. Another person said – “Oh… LOST,” but since it was my Mother in law I’m not sure I can count that one.

Not happy with those results, I decided to go Aeropostale on the people of Disney on my last day. I even threw on a gray long sleeve underneath in an effort to look hip.

I’m not sure what all of this means, but I figured it would be most beneficial info to all of you in blog land.

Friday, June 01, 2007

This day in history...

On this day in history my high school won a state championship in baseball, defeating our league rival Smoky Hill 8-0.

Can you guess what year this was?

Can you find me in the pic?