Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Busyness Abounds


When Mandy and I decided to move to Seattle, I had this grand vision in my mind of one last month of ministry here in Sioux Falls where I would lead a mission trip, direct a camp, and then ride out of town guns blazing. Let's just say I shot myself in the foot.

While these are enjoyable activities in and of themselves, when you have already rented an apartment half-way across the country, can't wait to move there, and are desperately trying to cram your whole life into a 17' Budget Truck, you tend not to care so much about these once- important activities.

I'm really looking forward to the mission trip I am leading this coming week to New Orleans. I have yet to see the devastation of Rita and Katrina, and am anxious to be part of the rebuilding process. I'm not so stoked about the camp I have to lead for 5th and 6th graders a week after returning from New Orleans. Pray for me.

I probably won't be posting much here for the next 10 days. If you are interested in seeing what our team is up to in New Orleans and reading reflections from teenagers and adults alike, I have set up another blog that you can frequent from May 31 to June 8. We will be posting each night about the things we are doing and learning. Here is the link:

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Don't Be THAT Guy!

I'm fresh off my latest aviation excursion and full of confusion about why certain people would do certain things at certain places and certain times during the air travel experience. I don't consider myself a seasoned traveler, but have been in the airport enough to know who I DO and DON'T want to be. The following is a list of people I strive to never be while flying:

The Loud Talker: The cramped quarters are bad enough on your tiny plane without the lady one row over talking about her hip replacement and bowel movements loud enough for people in the back to start throwing up in their mouths. There is a reason that we learn in 1st grade how to use our "inside voices"'s called an airplane. You're so loud I start thinking that Jack Johnson has stopped singing about "Banana Pancakes" in my iPod and has changed it to "menopause and the South Beach Diet". Just do us all a favor and whisper.

The Bring-Your-Own-Food-And-Stink-Up-The-Plane Guy: I know this sounds specific, but maybe that's because it is fresh in my mind, and my nostrils. We all were suffering together through the terrible absence of airplane peanuts, when suddenly the couple ahead of me decided it was time to break out their chicken strip basket and wreak up the entire plane. I'm sure there were people on the ground smelling that food and rushing to McDonald's for the Chicken Select meal.

The Head-Down Tourist: Now I'm fully aware that most people in an airport are visitors to that land, but at the same time, some people are tourists, while other people are "TOURISTS". You have to watch out for the latter because they will have head down in their ticket information and Google maps and will likely break your legs with their rolling luggage because they "didn't notice you there" when they conveniently rolled over your foot, crushing your big toe into tiny bone fragments.

The Light-In-The-Dark Guy: I don't care how close you are to finishing that latest Sudoku, when the lights go off in the plane, so should your individual reading lamp. Nothing sucks worse than trying to fall asleep while the lady behind you is fantasizing over the latest Jane Austen novel with her reading light blaring down on you like you're being interrogated by the police.

Who else am I missing that you've met?

A Sweet U2 Cover

Mandy and I are pretty avid American Idol fans, so this past week has been exciting for us as we watched the finale. While I thought that David Archuleta deserved to win after his performances this week, David Cook's cover of the U2 song "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For" was amazing. I love U2 and thought that David Cook did Bono justice in his rendition.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Century Villa

For those who frequent this blog, you know that Mandy and I were in Seattle this past weekend to secure housing for this summer's move. Well...we found a place. We will be living in an apartment complex called Century Villa located just north of downtown Seattle.

The apartment is small, expensive, and lacks many of the features we were looking for in an apartment, but we feel like it is the perfect place for us. We went to Seattle thinking that our priorities in housing were things like washers and dryers, dishwashers, and parking spaces, but after a few days of shopping, we realized that the thing that matters most to us is a good location.

Century Villa lacks many of the perks (except for its rather large storage unit downstairs), but sits in an incredible location in the city, just north of downtown atop Queen Anne Hill. We are minutes from downtown, half a block from coffee shops, grocery stores, and the bus stop, and 3 blocks from Kerry Park, the photographer's location in every Seattle postcard you've ever seen. In the end, we chose a place that would offer us less conveniences in order to choose a place that would shape us as people. We are excited about the people God is molding us into, simple people who love God, each other, the community, and the world around us.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Just Waiting Around

Mandy and I find ourselves in limbo here in Seattle as we wait to be approved for the apartment that we want to be lived in. We came here to the city with one ambition, to find an apartment to move into in July, but now have little to do here since we have decided on a home.

So...we spent a great day today at church and at a Mariners baseball game. We attended church at a church called Quest this morning, a church I had found out about online. This is a fairly young church, but contains much diversity and a huge heart for social justice. The pastor is Korean, which helps lead to the great diversity. We are looking for a church where all generations are represented, but also one that has vibrant worship, a care for God's creation, and a heart for justice in this world. This church seems in inhabit these qualities quite well. They also run a coffee shop and concert venue in a warehouse next-door that they tout as being "non-religious", a place where people can come experience life and art without the religious baggage. I love the idea.

The baseball game was so much fun this afternoon. The Mariners rallied to take the lead in the 8th inning and went on to secure the victory. I love professional sports, and have been able to attend a professional sporting event of all three major sports in the past 6 months, so it has been a great year.

We meet with the landlord at the apartment building we want tomorrow morning at 9:30am, so you can pray for us that all goes well and we are approved. We will fly out of Seattle at 3:00pm, get into Omaha at 11:00pm, and arrive in Sioux Falls around 2am that next morning. Looks like another long day. Talk to you all soon.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Our Decision Is In...

Yesterday Mandy and I spent the afternoon and evening shopping for apartments here in Seattle. Today we spent an incredibly long day shopping again. We visited 7 apartments today and are totally exhausted sitting in our hotel room. But...we found a place to live for this fall.

We have decided to rent an apartment in a complex called "Century Villa". The apartment is at the top of a neighborhood in Seattle called Queen Anne. Queen Anne is the neighborhood just north of Downtown Seattle and rests on one of the 7 hills that make up the Seattle metropolis. From the second we entered Century Villa we fell in love.

It is just removed from the hustle and bustle of city life, but doesn't feel like a suburb either. We will be one block from the bus stop, one block from a quaint little grocery store, and less than 10 blocks from banks, restaurants, and coffee shops. We are also 3 blocks from Kerry Park, the location of the picture I took and posted yesterday of the Seattle skyline. We really feel blessed to have found a great place in a great location.

The Century Villa doesn't have all the perks that we were hoping for (washer/dryer, dishwasher, parking spot), but we decided it was worth sacrificing those luxuries for the blessing of great location, community, and a chance to be different type of people. Thanks for all your prayers as we maneuvered through this difficult process. We know it helped.

P.S. I'll post pictures of the new place tomorrow after we take them. Grace and Peace!

Pics from Mars

Mandy and I have known that we were moving to Seattle to attend Mars Hill Graduate School for months now, but I've never posted any pictures of the school where I will be studying. While we were at the school today I made sure to take some pics so that I could show everyone where I spend most of my time next fall. Here are some pictures of the inside and outside of the building. The school is in downtown Seattle, one block from Puget Sound and about 5 blocks from Pike Place Market.

The outside of the building. Everyone knows the school as the big, red building. The complex used to be an old luggage factory.

The main lounge where students hang out, eat food, study, etc. I'll probably fall asleep reading many a book on these comfy leather couches.

This is the one large classroom at the school where they hold the lecture classes that all students are required to take. I'll probably have most of my classes here the first semester.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Good First Day in Seattle

For those who didn't know, Mandy and I flew out to Seattle this morning and will be here until Monday afternoon securing an apartment for this summer. We left Sioux Falls at 12:30 this morning for Omaha, NE and flew out of Omaha at 5am. We were extremely tired but got caught up on sleep on the plane ride.

When we got to Seattle we first went to Mars Hill Grad School to turn in a scholarship application and use their computers. We then spent the rest of the day visiting 4 different apartments. One of the apartments was awesome and we are very excited about it, but we also want to remain objective as we will be visiting at least 7 apartments tomorrow. We sort of got lost for the first time in Seattle, too, as we probably ended up walking an extra 30-40 blocks because we couldn't find the right bus line to take us to visit an apartment. Lets just say that our feet were tired when we got back to the hotel tonight.

We are excited to visit more places tomorrow and we will make sure to keep you updated as to how our search is going. I'll leave you with a picture of the view 3 blocks from the apartment that we really love...just slightly more scenic than South Dakota. I took this picture this afternoon.

Monday, May 12, 2008

One Last Trip

This weekend Mandy and I made one last trip to her parents' house in Mott, ND prior to moving to Seattle in July. It was so good to be with her family again as I am not able to make it up there very often. Those trips are always filled with great food, great fellowship, and fantastic conversation, and this trip was no different.

We will definitely miss being close to Mandy's family when we move to Seattle. Instead of being 7 hours away, we will be closer to 17 hours away, so trips to NoDak will be far more infrequent. The good thing for me is that in moving to Seattle we will be about 10 hours from my home, as opposed to the 14 hours I am away currently. We will definitely have to be strategic about how to use our vacations wisely and maximize our time with family and friends when we have the chance. Oh...moving is so hard!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Carrying Burdens

As I keep hearing this story told and retold, I can't help but think of Paul's instruction in Galatians 6:2 to "Carry each other's burdens...". We live in an independent society where people are expected to take care of themselves first before, if ever, worrying about the needs of others.

The church is no different. We come to worship on Sunday mornings full of our own agendas, our own struggles, our own problems, and usually couldn't care less about those problems around us.

This story is such a great illustration of what it looks like to help carry others through situations they can't handle on their own. May we be people who look first to the needs of others. May we put our own selfish agendas aside and really take care of our neighbors.