Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

High-Tech Circuit Riders: Satellite churches are discovering a new way to grow the body of Christ by Bob Smietana

...almost 1,000 U.S. churches [have embraced] a multisite approach, according to the Leadership Network ( Sometimes called a "satellite" or "franchise" model, going multisite is seen by advocates as one of the leading innovations of the 21st century and by critics as a sign that the church has sold out to consumerism—becoming just another big-box retailer, selling salvation with convenient hours and a discount price. The answer, as usual, lies somewhere in between.

The article profiles several different churches' satellite operations. One of the more intrigueing models is that of Life Church in Oklahoma City. Life Church has a combined attendance of 14,000, but splits the congregation up into five seperate locations. Their pastor, Craig Groeschel, explains;

"People like the options and quality of megachurches, yet crave the intimacy of smaller churches," Groeschel told CT. "This model gives you both. You can go to an experience that may have 200 people and dive into deep biblical community with them, and at the same time, you have the option of going on any one of 25 different mission trips during the year. So you get the benefits of a smaller community with the benefits of a megachurch."

Along with New Life, Smietana profiles Seacoast Church of South Carolina, Bayside Church in California, and two Chicagoland churches; Harvest Bible Chapel and Willow Creek Community Church.

Willow Creek started its Wheaton satellite campus in 2001 as a response to "the 30-minute problem." Jim Tomberlin, who oversees Willow's three satellite campuses, says that once people drive more than 30 minutes one way to church, their involvement drops off dramatically. More than one-third of Willow attendees were driving that far—and as a result, were not joining small groups or inviting their friends to church. That was undermining Willow's whole model, Tomberlin told CT.

Roger Finke, a sociologist from Penn State, notes an interesting historical parallel between the satellite movement and the very successful model employed by the Methodist circuit riders of the 19th century.

"The Methodist circuit rider was basically the pastor for multiple satellite churches," Finke told CT. "They tried to start up satellite congregations as quickly and as cheaply as possible. When the circuit rider was not there during the week, the satellite had a class leader or layperson who kept things going. Then the circuit rider would come in every once in a while and fire people up."

Methodists used that approach to become one of the largest religious groups in the United States, moving from "less than 2.5 percent of church adherents in 1776 to more than 34.2 percent in 1850," Finke wrote in a 2004 article for the Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Friday's Random Ten, Part 2

Sorry I haven't been very sociable lately - still sick, and dizzy, and confused. Without further's the random ten for this week.

  1. The Tourist, Radiohead (Ok Computer)
  2. Stick in the Mud, Jayhawks (Sound of Lies)
  3. Balaam's Ass, Vigilantes of Love (Blister Soul)
  4. I Will Miss You Girl, Bill Mallonee (Dear Life)
  5. Is That You, Buddy Miller (Universal United House of Prayer)
  6. Downtown Lights, Annie Lennox (Medusa)
  7. You are So Good, Third Day (Offerings II)
  8. Come Together, Beatles (1)
  9. Michael, Franz Ferdinand (Franz Ferdinand)
  10. Reasonable Service, Lost Dogs (Green Room Serenade)

Malachy's favorite is Michael, my favorite is Balaam's Ass, Steph's favorite is Stick in the Mud.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Find the Big Jesus

I haven't read Velvet Elvis yet, but I have been following y'alls comments on it, so I was happy to discover Thunderstruck's link to this BeliefNet interview with Bell. They square away the orthodoxy question in the first paragraph of the interview and then get on to the juicy stuff.

Monday, August 22, 2005


This is another old one. I did this one as a sketch for a larger painting that I donated to a charity auction. I don't usually enjoy painting landscapes (when I finish a painting I want to be looking at somebody, not something) but I did enjoy this one.

Cute Fuzzy Bunnies

To make up for the using the word "nudist" in my last entry, I'm posting this painting. What it lacks in style, technique, and originality it makes up for in bunnies.

Malachy was born October 21st, 2004. Eventually, visiting hours were over and they made me go home. Experiencing seperation anxiety, I got out the paints and painted some little babies to keep me company.

It's based on a painting in a library book I had at the time, but I never wrote down what it was so I'm afraid I can't give due credit.

PS It's not as wrinkled in life as the scan makes it look.

Nudist Colony

One thing posting my paintings has done is thickened my skin a bit, so I'm finally ready to post some of my fiction. Unlike paintings, my stories never feel "done," so comments and critiques are more than welcome.

The link is in the title.

More stories coming soon.

Fibromyalgia in the News

These are great times for folks with FMS. The research is picking up, public awareness is growing, and more effective treatments are becoming available. My mother went an entire decade without seeing as many advances as we have seen in just the past two years.

On Pain's Trail (by Shari Roan of the L.A. Times) explains some of these recent breakthroughs in laymen's terms, shares the personal story of an FMS sufferer, and provides a glimpse at the insulting skepticism those of us with FMS often encounter.

It also sexes up "tender points." I don't think I've seen this chart at my doc's office.

I recommend reading the article, but if you don't feel like it, here are some of the most interesting parts:

For years doctors had been looking for a cause of fibromyalgia at the site of the pain: the head, back, hands, neck, gut or elsewhere. And their treatments focused on soothing pain in these locations. As their understanding has grown, however, these treatments have begun to change and new ones are in development.

Fibromyalgia is now thought to arise from miscommunication among nerve impulses in the central nervous system, in other words the brain and spinal cord. This "central sensitization" theory is described in detail this month in a supplement of the Journal of Rheumatology. The neurons, which send messages to the brain, become excitable, exaggerating the pain sensation, researchers have found.

As a result, fibromyalgia patients feel intense pain when they should feel only mild fatigue or discomfort — such as after hauling bags of groceries. They sometimes feel pain even when there is no cause.

The "central sensitization" theory may be the common link between FMS and several other mysterious conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome, gulf war syndrome, and endometriosis. According to the article, doctors hope that breakthroughs in FMS research will help them understand these diseases as well.

The article also speculates that Fibromyalgia drugs may be available as early as 2006, and includes a list of half a dozen promising drugs being studied. Greater understanding of physiological abnormalities in FMS sufferers has paved the way.

Recent studies show multiple triggers for the amped-up response to pain. Fibromyalgia patients have, for instance, elevated levels of substance P, a neurotransmitter found in the spinal cord that is involved in communicating pain signals.

They also appear to have lower levels of substances that diminish the pain sensation, such as the brain chemicals serotonin, norepinephrine and dopamine. Growth hormone, which helps promote bone and muscle repair, is also found in lower levels in fibromyalgia patients.

New therapies are aimed at these abnormalities.

The drugs and what they do:
• Pregabalin (brand name Lyrica): This antiepileptic drug, also approved for diabetic nerve pain, appears to be effective in reducing pain and disturbed sleep in fibromyalgia patients. If late-stage trials prove successful, Pfizer plans to ask the FDA to approve the drug for fibromyalgia.

• Milnacipran: Marketed outside the United States as an antidepressant, this drug increases the brain chemicals norepinephrine and serotonin. Early studies showed it to be successful in reducing fibromyalgia pain, and data from the first phase-three trial is due out this fall. Cypress Bioscience and Forest Laboratories hope to seek FDA approval late next year.

• Duloxetine (brand name Cymbalta): This antidepressant, already on the market, increases the activity of serotonin and norepinephrine. It was successful in reducing fibromyalgia pain in early-phase studies, and plans for a phase-three study are underway. If successful, Lilly may seek FDA approval of the medication for fibromyalgia.

• Xyrem: Approved for narcolepsy with the complication of weak or paralyzed muscles, the drug might be able to increase deep sleep in people with fibromyalgia. The results of an initial study on fibromyalgia are due later this year. It's made by Jazz Pharmaceuticals.

• Provigil: Approved for daytime sleepiness associated with narcolepsy and shift-work disorders, or sleep problems in those who work nights or on changing schedules, the medication might help treat fatigue related to fibromyalgia. The manufacturer, Cephalon Inc., has no plans to seek approval for the drug for this purpose, but it can be used off-label.

• Mirapex: Approved for Parkinson's disease, this drug works by increasing the neurotransmitter dopamine. The manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, has no plans to study the drug for use in fibromyalgia, but it can be used off-label. An independent study showed it was promising for reducing fibromyalgia pain.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Happy B-Day Stephanie Rene!

You are sunshine to everyone who knows you and the best boss a sister could have!

Looking for music?

Remember Alive, one of the Best Worhsip Albums of '02, according to CT mag? It had such an impact that blogs were named after it, short stories were inspired by it, and I heard even Bono got a copy.

If you've been eagerly awaiting some more awesome Aaron music, Mars Hill has released Changed. Click here to listen to samples and get your own copy.

These songs don't sound a thing like most of the worhsip music out there right now. Original and hard to forget. The kind of stuff you crank up when you're driving. I love this cd. "Changed" and "Carry Each Other" are particularly fun to dance with a baby to.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

We weren't the only ones to notice that this year's Summit was a bit different than usual. The Baptist Standard speculates this may be a sign of good things to come. (For the entire article click on the link in the title.)
This month, in a Leadership Summit simulcast attended by 50,000 local-church leaders in about 100 sites across the nation, megachurch pastors Bill Hybels of Willow Creek Community Church near Chicago and Rick Warren of Saddleback Community Church in Southern California hammered the beat-poverty theme. Warren repeated a message he delivered to the BWA--local churches can battle hunger at home and around the world. Hybels stressed that injustice, extreme poverty, hunger and AIDS ought to generate "holy discontent" among U.S. Christians so that they act out of passion.

Listening to Hybels and Warren call for an end to hunger, a question played through my mind: "What if all their followers take them up on this? We really could make hunger history." During three decades, Hybels and Warren have built two of the nation's largest churches. Tens of thousands of pastors and other church leaders hang on their every word. When they roll out a plan for church growth, thousands of churches follow it to the letter. So, what if Christians everywhere catch their zeal for eliminating hunger and poverty?

Leadership Summit Follow-up: Can't Stanz No More

Remember, unless you start implementing changes within three days of the conference, you're not likely to see any significant improvements in 12 month's time.

When the awesome Brian C. Berry got home he wanted to make sure he didn't sit on what he'd learned, so he put Popeye on his desk to remind him of what he can't stand no more.

Thanks for the great visual, Brian!

Why I Need a Digital Camera

Last night for supper I had a bowl of Ramen noodles and a can of MGD. If that sounds pathetic, you should have seen how it looked!

Friday's Random Ten, Part 1

I'm stealing this idea from Bob and Howard. Put your mp3 player (in this case, my pc) on shuffle and write down the first ten songs that come up.

  1. If a Tree Falls - Bruce Cockburn (Anything, Anytime, Anywhere)
  2. Warning Sign - Coldplay (A Rush of Blood to the Head)
  3. Time - T. Bone Burnett (T. Bone Burnett)
  4. Let That Be Enough - Switchfoot (New Way to be Human)
  5. What If? - Coldplay (X&Y)
  6. The Happy Song - Delerious? (Cutting Edge)
  7. Little Bird - Emmylou Harris (Stumble Into Grace)
  8. Mothers of the Disappeared - U2 (Joshua Tree)
  9. Blister Soul - Vigilantes of Love (Blister Soul)
  10. With God on Our Side - Buddy Miller performing (Universal United House of Prayer)


Best album would be Joshua Tree. No contest.

Least favorite song - Happy Song. Normally I don't mind it, but when it pops up in shuffle it's a little jarring.

Best song - Little Bird.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

Nice Girls Don't Change the World

This is a short book, but contains some pretty deep soul-searching. Reading it, you are forced to ask yourself, "am I being a nice girl?"

What's so bad about being a nice girl? Well, nice girls carry with them their childish impression of God, an idol that can wreck their lives. Nice girls worry about what others think. Nice girls see others as being more valuable and capable than themselves. Nice girls hide when they are scared.

Instead we are called to be "good women." A good woman is a dangerous woman because she relates to the living, breathing God. She knows her unique passions and abilities are valuable. She doesn't let fear stop her.

A lot of what is written in this little book resonated with me, but my favorite stuff is the stuff about fear. Lynne talks about being invited to give a series of talks in Northern Ireland and she immediately thinks of all the reasons she is afraid to do it. But she sense God asking her "if you weren't afraid would you want to do that?" She realizes the answer is "yes" and she goes. I absolutely love that question: If you weren't afraid, would you do it? As an artist, trying to grow and learn and get my stuff out there, I need to ask myself that question all the time.

She also talks about "talking down your fear" (which came up at the Summit.) Here's an excerpt:
"I've...learned that my first response to just about everything is fear. If I listened t the voice of fear, I would basically do nothing. But part of what it means for me to move from being a nice girl to being a good woman, is that I choose to talk down fear. When fear says, "What have you gotten yourself into now?" I say "I think I've gotten myself into the will of God, and I'm not going to back down."

I really enjoyed this one, and hope Lynne will be writing more in the future!

(If you don't want to wait for the wide-release by Zondervan you can get the book through the WCA.)

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

New Community: Sara Groves and Randy Frazee

I tend to get choked up when I hear the song Tent in the Center of Town because it reminds me of Willow, so it hit me pretty hard to hear Sara Groves play it in our own "striped tent" tonight. (Yeah, I'm a sentimental dork, didn't the cat paintings tip y'all off?)

Tent in the Center of Town
by Sara Groves

There's a tent in the center of town
The people have gathered around
Cause they think they'll go there to see lions and bears
In the tent in the center of town

But it's all about the winning of soul
Say the signs on the telephone poles
They say if you are blue Jesus is calling you
To the tent in the center of town

The preacher is preaching his best
And he barely takes time for a breath
Their hearts are complete in the bearable heat
In the tent in the center of town

The gentlemen give up their seats
To the women who've been on their feet
But it's standing room only when the Holy of Holies
Enters the center of town

There's a tent in the center of town
Where the people can gather around
Who wouldn't step foot in a church
But who aren't afraid of a good news crusade
In the tent in the center of town

They say they're drawn in by the stripes on the awning
And the beautiful music inside
But they're drawn by the Spirit that's pouring down
On the tent in the center of town

And revival hits like a wave
And hundreds are joyously saved
And the thief and adulterer lay it all on the altar
In the tent in the center of town

The time has come to move on
To the next hurting throng
And they hope as they tear it apart
The tent will live on in their hearts

I once was lost, but now I'm found
Because of a tent in the center of town

Randy Frazee gave his much-anticipated second message as a Willow pastor. I'd paraphrase it like this:

Everyone is short-handed. It could be your income, your skin color, your height, a handicap...we all have something.

We tend to deal with our short-handedness one of two ways:
  1. Back down.
  2. Try to outperform it.
But neither of these works. Instead of trying to hide from or out-run our limitations, we need to find our identity in our position as children of God. We love our children because they are our children, not because they lack shortcomings.

As a young pastor, Randy knew that this was what the Bible taught, but he still tried to find his sense of security in outperforming his shortcomings. He wasn't able to make "positional identity" a way of life until his son was born without a hand.

His unconditional love for his handicapped son, along with the need to model healthy positional identity for his son, helped Randy to stop over-compensating for his own "short-handedness."

Once he truly adopted a mentality of positional identity he found that, rather than hurting his performance, it improved his performance, because when we feel secure we are more likely to trust God and take risks, and these are instrumental in success.

Can I say again how happy I am Randy is here? I look forward to learning from him for years to come!

Finally, it was officially announced tonight that Jim Tomberlin is moving on. After several years of phenomenal success as the pastor of the regionals he is feeling called by God into a position of consulting other churches on how to create successful satellite locations. When Randy came to Willow in 2001 satellite churches was a bit of a joke (seriously, I remember the articles - folks thought it was nuts!) Now 1 out of 3 churches with an attendance of 250 or more is considering regional sites. Tomberlin has been one of the movers and shakers in this movement and has so much he can share with these churches. We thank and pray for him and his family as they start out on this new leg of their adventure!

Leadership Summit Follow-up: "like the day REM went top 10"

What do Willow and the Summit look like to the emergent church across the pond? Paul Roberts offers his fascinating observations at his blog, Staring Into the Distance.

Rick, from Tampa, takes a completely different angle in his blog, Cheaper Than Therapy.

Thousands of church leaders came to a leadership conference and sat through a Justice conference. What?

Has the evangelical church, as Jim Wallis predicted, begun to tip to the whole gospel? Why has it taken these great men 30+ years of ministry to figure this out? Why couldn't they have figured it out when I was younger? Maybe I would not have been such an outcast in my own denomination.

I am so confused and have too many questions. It the day R.E.M. went Top 10.

To read more first hand accounts of the conference click here.

Random Sketches

Since the art fair I've done a couple more sketches. The first is based on a painting called Watergrass by Bert Greer Phillips, the second on a painting called Spanish Rose by Chauncy Homer.

Futurama: Space Pilot 3000

FINALLY saw the first episode of Futurama last night. Good stuff.

Suicide booth! Television doesn't get any better than this!

I was also impressed to see Nibbler in the cryogenics lab in 2000. I had just assumed the writers were making up that plot arch as they went, but nope, they planned it all along and this grainy still proves it:

That makes it a better written show than the X-Files. *snap*

Monday, August 15, 2005

Untitled and Piper

Art Fair

The Thursday before last I was invited to participate in an art fair. It's been a goal of mine to participate in one of these things, so ,even though the notice was short, I said yes. I spent the next week busting my butt and spending loads of Steph's hard earned dough to get myself ready. This Saturday morning, with the Neon loaded up with 16 framed paintings, a cooler, some tv trays, easels and miscellaneous hardware, Steph and I shoved off for Northfield, Il and the Ascension Church Inreach Art Fair.

The rain started about an hour after we arrived and continued on and off throughout the day. Those of us without tents realized before long that we wouldn't make it to the end of the day without them and made Target runs. Erin, our next door neighbor at the fair, and I got the last two Greatland $69 specials!

As you can imagine, not a lot of people show up for an out door fair in the rain. My estimates might be way off, but I think I only saw about 150 people there the entire day. And I bet many of those were either artists or folks assisting the artists. Even so, I was able to sell one small painting and get some names on my mailing list.

Financially the fair was a bust, but I'm not very disappointed by that. From the moment I decided to do the fair my motiviation was not financial. It was more about being faithful to my goals, building up my confidence, connecting with other Willow artists, and getting some much needed experience. In all of those areas the fair was a great success.

I met some wonderful people, and am especially happy to have met Gloria and Erin. They are two painters from Willow who are very talented and were full of great information and ideas. Erin helped us price our paintings when we arrived and Gloria gave us some great information about getting prints made.

The three of us painters didn't do nearly as well as Christine who was selling hand made baskets and jewelry. I think the people who came were expecting more of a craft fair than a fine art fair and I don't blame them.

I did get some wonderful compliments and talked to a few people about doing portraits on commission. I'm going to follow up with some email and see what happens.

Thanks to everybody for all your prayers and encouraging words. I had a great time and learned a lot!

Friday, August 12, 2005

Summit Blogs

If your like me and are trying to experience the Summit vicariously this year, here are a few blogs that will help you out!

Willow Creek and Leadership Summit in the News

Leadership Summit Hits Home

Leaders often talk about having a vision, or a plan, but Hybels challenged the thousands listening Thursday to explore what precedes that. The Rev. Billy Graham has been filling tents and stadiums for almost 60 years, Hybels said. But what happened inside Graham's heart that made him rent that first stadium and hold that first revival?

For Hybels, the explanation is as simple as the Popeye cartoon character. When other men were after Olive Oyl, the love of his life, Popeye would get to the point where he would say, "That's all I can stands. I can't stands no more." Then, with a little help from spinach, he would suddenly have supernatural strength and become unstoppable.

"What can't you stand?" Hybels asked. Is it racism? Is it severe poverty? Is it child abuse? The spread of AIDS?

"What's wrecking you is also wrecking the heart of a holy God," Hybels said. "He wants to sign you up and give you a vision."

For those who already know what they can't stand, "Are you risking enough for it?" Hybels asked. "In what life are you going to go all out? This is the only one you have."

Gospel on Leadership (This article has features some brief interviews with conference attenders at a satellite location in Raleigh.)

"To me, leadership transcends corporate America," said Joe Mitchiner, a lawyer and a member of St. Andrews Presbyterian in Raleigh. "It flows into family, into a small office. Anytime someone is looking for guidance there's an issue of leadership."

Hybels, Warren Teach Vision and Sacrifice as Keys to Leadership (Some misquotes and bad grammer, but you can read it if you wanna.)

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Art Fair Update

Thanks for the well-wishes.

Here's an update for you: This art fair will feature a Moon Walk and a Dunk Tank! Par-ty!!!

The fair (for those of you who don't live hundreds of miles away :) is at 460 Sunset Ridge Rd, Northfield IL at the corner of Willow and Sunset Ridge. The fair goes from 10-7. Admission is free. In addition to the art, there will also be food for sale. See you there! (I'll be the one with the cat paintings!)

Leadership Summit 2005

The Summit is bigger than ever this year with 52,000 attending at Willow and 110 satellite locations. I didn't volunteer this year but found a great blog that is tracking the conference as it happens from one of the satellite locations.

Visit Random Thoughts...And Associations... for Charlie Dean's take on the event.

Abortion Hurts Women

A few years ago I participated, with some friends and family, in a peaceful, pro-life demonstration. At the beginning of the demonstration we were handed a stack of signs, which we split up amongst us. My sign read "Abortion Hurts Women."

Huh? In my mind the pro-choice movement had monopolized the issue of women's rights, but as I stood holding that sign, I began to really think about which side has women's best interests in mind.

Since then I've come across a group called Feminists for Life. This group teaches that a true defense of women's right would protect a woman's right to have an education and a child, or a career and a child, and not this either/or mentality that the pro-choice movement pushes.

Thanks to Jane Sullivan Roberts (John Roberts' wife) involvement with Feminists for Life, it's been getting some great media coverage and I hope everyone will take the time to visit FFL and read what they are all about.

Where does Feminists for Life fit in the Pro-Life Community, Rob Moll, Christianity Today

Feminists for Life is where the policy meets the pavement, Foster told Christianity Today. By addressing the forces that push women toward abortion, Feminists for Life tries to make abortion "unthinkable," not just illegal. Whether lack of support from a father, the need to work full-time, or a lack of resources on a college campus to care for a child, their feminist concern for the vulnerable motivates their concern for both the baby and the woman. Major legal pushes recently have included passage of the Violence Against Women Act, fighting the family cap on welfare, and supporting laws enforcing child support.

The Bible and feminists.

Feminists for Life builds upon the work of the early American feminists who found their feminist moorings in the Bible, says Haddad. "Secular feminists often place their feminist convictions above the authority of Scripture. The early feminists were suffragists because they believed their Christian voice had an important place in the public square."

More articles:

Feminists for Life Refuse to Choose, Dallas Morning News

Changing the Tone, Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review

When Heaton won her first "Outstanding Lead Actress In A Comedy Series" Emmy in 2000 for Everybody Loves Raymond, she thanked her mother for "letting me out because life is really amazing." That's the kind of honest, happy enthusiasm FFL brings to the "pro-life" cause and the abortion debate in America. Just a genuine love for life and desire to get us all protecting it. One of Heaton's FFL sound bites is: "women who experience an unplanned pregnancy also deserve unplanned joy." FFL's attitude is that women — especially frightened, anxious women — deserve to know that. The ad I see most from Feminists for Life reads: "Abortion is a reflection that we have not met the needs of women. Women deserve better than abortion." Every life involved in an abortion, including the baby, the mother and the father, is precious — and Feminists for Life is working toward a more complete conversation about abortion and its inhumanity.

Pro-life Feminism is No Oxymoron, Crispen Sartwell, Christian Science Monitor

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

art show update

Okay, we got the call - I'm still on for this weekend. Still don't know where the heck it is, but I'll let you guys know when I do.

I bought a trunk load of frames tonight, now I just have to fill 'em!

Wish me luck!

Monday, August 08, 2005

Second Most Surprising News Story of the Day

Supermarket Ghost Caught on Tape!!!

For the video click here. No, your speakers aren't broken, there is no audio. The first half is just the supermarket, the second half is....THE SUPERMARKET GHOST!!!

For the transcript of the news story click on the title of this post.

Peter Jennings

I liked Peter Jennings. Sharp as a tack and always a little pissed off, he was the David Letterman of news anchors. After 9/11 Steph and I watched Peter Jennings incessantly. All the pretty anchors on CNN were flabbergasted, but Peter Jennings, with his "don't make me come around this desk!" attitude and deadpan women-and-children-first commentary on the attacks, looked like his entire career had just been a dress rehersal for this one period in history. A lot of people look back on those horrible days and say they were inspired by Guiliani or Bush, I was inspired by Peter Jennings. He'll be missed.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

Zoolander and Pumpkin

Here are two new paintings for the show.

As you can see, I'm still in my black velvet phase.

These are opaque and transparent watercolors on Arches, 140lb.

Work In Progress

One of those three paintings I'm working on is based on this sketch.

It measures 16x20. I've got the cat mostly finished and am trying to figure out what to do for the background.

I'm thinking a patterned bed spread.

Wiggin' Out

Still haven't heard a thing about this show on Saturday. I'm starting to wonder if Tiley is going to be able to get me registered so late in the game. Less than a week to go and I don't have a clue what's going on.

The big plan was to paint 12 hours straight today. I now realize that is a crazy person's plan. So I called it quits about six hours early. I've got 5 paintings done and three in the works. No painting time tomorrow because Steph and Mark are going to Great America with the Promiseland folks so I'll be babysitting Malachy until about 11pm. I should be able to get a lot done on Tuesday though.

Willow Creek Community Church in the News

NPR talks about churches using technology to expand their ministries.
"It's our desire to be a local neighborhood church again," he [Tomberlin] tells Jennifer Ludden. And Willow Creek is doing that with video technology, with pre-recorded sermons on DVD and elaborate simulcasts on video screens.

Multiple locations a big trend.
John Vaughn, who publishes a magazine called Church Growth Today, says thousands of churches are now expanding into multiple locations... as many as two percent of all U.S. churches.

Saturday, August 06, 2005


Realizing that I've taken eBay about as far as I can I decided a few months ago to set a goal to start getting into some local shows. The church stuff was a good start, but just a couple of pieces and no opportunity to sell. Then, two days ago, Tiley asked Steph if I'd like to do a show somewhere in the North Shore with a bunch of other Willow artists.

Sounds like exactly the opportunity I was looking for, only catch - it's next Saturday! I need a minimum of ten paintings, all framed, with a minimum value of $100 each. I had only one painting I could put in the show, and I knew I'd be babysitting all week, but I said yes. I believe that if you pray for an opportunity and then God sends it to you and you say "no thanks God, I'll pass on that one" then you better duck and cover 'cause you might get your ass smote down. (Just kidding, Lord!)

Anyway, now I'm going nuts trying to make this work. Luckily, when my auctions ended last night two of the paintings didn't sell, so I've got three finished paintings ready to go, and I have three more in the works that should be done tomorrow.

I'm trying not to think about the show itself. How am I gonna display my stuff? Do I need business cards or contact sheets? What am I gonna wear ? (Tiley recommends "dressing the part!") What if people start asking me questions?

If you feel like praying for me this week, or for the show on Saturday, it'd be much appreciated!

Friday, August 05, 2005

What are They Really Asking?

At last week's bible study a friendly Christian man we met at the bookstore launched, unprompted, into a critical evaluation of the Bible translations we were using. This week the same friendly brother in Christ interuppted our study to tell us, with great zest, all about predestination. We were studying marriage.

It struck me (about the time the man grabbed my shoulder when I tried to turn the conversation back to marriage) that this otherwise wonderful man believed that making his position known was more important than having a two-sided and mutually edifying conversation. And I had a moment of fear when I thought, what if he approaches some non-believers in this book store and behaves the way he is behaving toward us?

So I was very pleased to find this wonderful article by our own Judson Poling at Poling reminds us that it's more important to answer the needs of the person you are talking to than to be a walking encyclopedia of Christian factoids.

The article is linked in the title.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Big Sister sketch

Still enjoying the heck out of that Art of the West magazine I bought. This sketch is based on a painting called Baby Sitter by Susan Lyon.

I LOVE this artist! Check out this one called School Children in Lima.

And isn't this one of the most gorgeous portraits you've ever seen?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

paintings for sale!

I've finally posted some paintings on eBay, so if you are interested click on the link above!