Friday, August 29, 2008


The concept of fear is very intriguing to me. I have blogged a few times on what some of my fears are, but I keep coming back to why do we react the way we do when our "fears" are put in front of us? Last night I got home late from work (Nick Vujicic was great) and went to check on the boys. I wanted to make sure they were okay with the giant thunderstorm going on and I hadn't really seen them much this week. Well when I went into Trenton's room I could not find him. He was literally not in his room...or at least that's what I thought. I went over to his closet, and when I opened the door he was curled up inside with his blanket and penguin. Sleeping in the darkness of his closet which apparently was protecting him from the lighting. It was funny and sweet at the same time. It reminded me of when I was really little and my brothers and I use to go into my sister's room in our house in Mendota Heights because it was the room the thunder and lighting were the least scary in. From young ages it seems we are taught or learn on our own to run/hide from that which puts fear into our lives. We spend so much time hiding and running that when it comes time to actually face those things which make us afraid we have the most incredibly hard time doing so. How do you counteract that? I'm not going to make Trenton sleep in a sleeping bag on the driveway during the next how do I help him with his fears. Of course things like being afraid of thunderstorms, spiders, scorpions, clowns (completely rational), or stuff like that doesn't totally matter. But what about the fears that a person must overcome? How do I teach my boys, how do I teach myself, how do I teach those around me to face the fears when it goes completely against what they and myself have done since we were little? I don't know if I really have an answer on this, but I have just been spending a lot of time thinking about it.

Monday, August 25, 2008

What do you do?

So potty training is God's way of showing just how little control I have in life and His method of slowly torturing me to death. Trenton is finally in the process of actually getting potty trained. He is actually doing pretty good, but he is struggling with asking to go and what to do when he has to drop a twosy. So yesterday we had a clash of both problems that resulted in pure terror. We put Trenton down for a nap in a diaper since we didn't want him peeing in his underwears while sleeping. Well thirty minutes into his nap he has to go to the bathroom but you can probably guess it was the colon calling not his bladder. So he goes poop. Well that wouldn't be bad except that he now knows that he doesn't like the feeling of poop or pee in a diaper against his skin. So what does he do? He immediately takes off his shorts and removes his diaper. Now any rational human being (or perhaps any rational non-Anderson kid) would have stopped there. But not my boy! He proceeds to pick up the poop and put it everywhere in his room. His bed was smeared with it. The carpet was covered with it. Inside his pillow case had poop. His blanket had poop. The only thing that didn't really suffer was his stuffed animal penguin. Go figure he spares his best friend. We hear him and start to smell the funk so we enter his room to find Picasso has painted a nice brown shade everywhere. He is naked and covered in poop from his neck to his feet. His hands are coated. And on the back of his bedroom door is a nice little painting of poop. What do you do when the crap hits the fan they say? Well what do you do when the crap hits everything? We didn't know whether to laugh or cry, scream or giggle, clean or napalm the room. It is always an adventure in this home and yesterday proved no different. For your viewing pleasure I have included a picture of his door (which I couldn't help but take).

Saturday, August 23, 2008


So Danielle went to bed early last night because she had to work early this morning. So I went to RedBox to rent a movie she wouldn't want to see. I came away wtih American Gangster. It was pretty brutal and there was a lot of violence, drug usage, and inappropriate scenes, but overall the film was pretty good. There was a line from the movie that really intrigued me though. It was, "Success. It's got enemies. You can be successful and have enemies or you can be unsuccessful and have friends." The more I think about it the more I think that is true. By our very nature, we as people are envious and jealous. I don't know why but the success of others can by itself make us dislike them for one reason or another. Promotions, salary increases, new & better toys, better jobs, etc. can drive us all crazy in envy & jealousy. Then again sometimes those with all the stuff are envious and jealous of those who are more successful in life - family, marriage, and the stuff that really matters. Does the success of others really bother me? Do I dislike people for doing well - "better" than me?

Friday, August 22, 2008

Back to school

So this upcoming Monday (August 25th) I begin my fall semester classes at Northern Arizona University. I have to travel to Flagstaff every Monday during the semester. It kind of sucks to drive 5 hours a day, but I will enjoy being on that campus again. I absolutely love Flagstaff. I will be finishing up the last 4 classes (12 hours) I need to graduate over the fall and spring semesters. So next May (after I started taking college classes in the fall of 2000) I will finally graduate! Yea. Its interesting because despite getting the degree I will still be on the outside looking in amongst my colleagues at the church. Imagine like a prestigious law firm where everyone has Ivy League law degrees and then a guy with a law degree from Iowa tries to fit in. Sometimes that is how I feel as most of the males I work with all have bible college degrees. Its as if I will have a degree but one that doesn't quite count. No one necessarily says this, but its like being the odd one out. I have never taken a preaching class. I have never taken a pastoral care class. I have never taken a theology class. I'm just some guy who is a bit obsessed with history that God has asked to do ministry. Its a weird feeling though sometimes. Nevertheless I am proud of where I went and continue to go to school. I have received a great education, learned a ton, and have really enjoyed my experiences. Maybe I don't fit into the normal pastor mold. Then again maybe that is exactly the way God wanted it to be. I have never been a normal guy and I think that is the way I like it to be.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Real" World

So one of the hardest parts to my job is that it keeps me at church with church people for most of my time. Don't get me wrong, I love hanging out with my fellow staff members and absolutely love the adults and students I get to experience life with. However, I miss having conversations and experiencing moments with people who do not know God or at the very least do not care anything about the church. I don't think we set out to be a holy huddle at the church, I think it just sort of happens. I have met very few people at Central who would claim that the church is not for those who are not yet a part of it...but in the end do not know how to invite or interact with those same people. And then I realize why do we classify people into groups anyway? Why does it have to be "believers" & "non-believers"? I understand that there are people who have a relationship with Christ and there are people who do not. But at the same time, I just refuse to believe that God looks at people in categories, so why do I? Anyway, connecting back to what I was originally saying; when I worked at Starbucks I got lots of time hanging out with and chatting with people not connected to church. They were just regular people. And the crazy thing is that I really do feel like when I was there I viewed all people as just people, not my current "two category" viewing. Have I gotten less like Christ in some ways since coming to the church? I don't know, but I struggle with that concept and not enjoying my conversations about life while making someone a latte. Last night I went to the DBacks game (which we won, woo-hoo!) with my friend Jason. Afterwards we went across the street to this bar Tiggo's. We wanted to just sit and have a conversation but we ended up talking with this bartender Anthony. He was an interesting guy, saying so many "colorful" statements. As we were talking to him it felt good to have just a regular conversation. I wasn't treating him like a "non-believer" and looking to hand him a fake twenty dollar bill witnessing track. Just talking about business, baseball, and a little bit about him. I don't know if I will ever see him again, and maybe I was supposed to say "go to church" but I thank him for providing me the opportunity to interact with someone who wasn't just like me. My hope is that I can continue to find opportunities and places to interact with people who aren't part of the church. Not because they are a different "category" but because I want the fullness of life in relationships with all sorts of people. I miss that. I like that. And honestly, it feels as if I am most Christlike when I do that.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Its funny how when I teach a lesson for the Junior High service the topic seems to apply as much to my own life as it does for their lives. This morning I taught about the warnings we waste in life and used the passage from Genesis 4 on Cain & Abel. Cain received a warning from God (But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must master it) that he ignored and paid the ultimate price. I wonder how often I ignore that very same warning from God. I choose to make poor decisions and that leads sin into my life. The crappy thing is that I know better. I read the warning God gave Cain and it is blatantly obvious what Cain needed to watch out for. Yet in my own life I repeatedly ignore warning signs that if I would pay attention would keep my life out of trouble. How many poor choices and bad decisions could I avoid by simply applying one of the first warnings God gives mankind? It sometimes seems like sin is not that big of a deal and that at any moment it can easily be controlled. The idea of sin lurking around, crouching, ready to pounce on my life and dominate my life seems unrealistic. Yeah right sin could have that much power and control...right? Unfortunately I don't think I realize the destructive nature of sin until its too late most of the time. I miss the warning and pay the price. Perhaps the time has come to realize how critical this warning from God is and heed its advice. How much trouble listening to it would have prevented for Cain's life, my life, and the lives of the Junior High students I taught this morning is astounding. Its the simple warnings in life that seem to have the biggest impact.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


So my friend Jeremy wrote a couple of blogs on the topic of memorizing Scripture. Basically he talked about he hadn't memorized Scripture since he was a kid and wanted to work on it. I thought about it and decided it would be a good idea for myself as well. However, I could not get the motivation to begin (as terrible as that might sound, it is true). So my wife and I were talking a few weeks back and she suggested a contest. She wanted to lose weight but didn't necessarily have the motivation to do so. So if we made it a competition against each other, perhaps the competitive edge will kick in and we'd be able to accomplish our goals. Nothing like a competition between husband and wife to accomplish goals...All that to say, is I have to memorize the book of James. I laid out a plan which would have me memorizing the book by the first part of December. That seems like a long time, but then it forces me to learn small chunks at a time and continously review the stuff I should have memorized already. So far I am up through the first chapter of James.

My observations thus far...

  • Memorizing Scripture is not as hard as I thought it would be. It takes time and great discipline, but it is not impossible.
  • While memorizing Scripture, God has a funny way of challenging me with what I am memorizing. For instance, Danielle came home from vacation in Colorado a couple of weeks ago but left her keys up there. My normal reaction was to freak out and have a meltdown in anger - yet "My dear brothers take note of this: everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires" popped into my head. Wow - it has served a purpose to memorize!
  • The book of James is extremely useful for daily living.

So I encourage you in the pursuit of memorizing Scripture. Its totally worth the effort!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Living in the Gray Twilight

So one of the things that has struck me while watching the Olympics is how many of the athletes competing fail. This is not to say that they are not great athletes, but they fail. They make the games and then do not even get past the preliminary rounds of competition. So many men and women go home empty-handed. The reason these athletes stick out to me is because I have a HUGE fear of failure [atychiphobia]. Most of the time I mask this fear by saying I don't want to lose or don't like doing something, but in reality I hold back because I am scared to fail. Scared to fall on my face. I could not participate in the Olympics because I would be afraid of being that guy who got dead last in the preliminary heat [well and let's be honest I cannot run, swim, or do any other athletic competition even close to Olympic competition]. Being a fan of Teddy Roosevelt quotes, I always come back to the famous - "Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." How many things (not just athletics) do I miss out on because I am afraid of failing? How many enjoyments and sufferings have I missed out on because I have not taken a step forward to see what might happen? I am constantly living in the gray twilight. Afraid of stepping forth on any real adventure because I have made a conscious decision to stay with safe & boring to prevent failure from happening. Sure I do not suffer much but I also think I prevent myself from enjoying much. I must ask myself is the life, job, decisions I am making today really what I want to do and think God wants me to do, or have I allowed myself to fall safely into a security blanket that does protect but at the cost of truly living. As proud as I am of Michael Phelps and his quest for 8 gold medals, I am just as proud of all the athletes who gave it their all to get to the Olympics and then fell into dead last place. They avoided the gray I wish I could do the same.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Proud to be an American

Theodore Roosevelt once stated, "We can have no '50-50' allegiance in this country. Either a man is an American and nothing else, or he is not an American at all." I love that the Olympics bring out the pride in a person for their country. Whether that is the actual athlete competing or the fan just watching. One of the things I have enjoyed most is watching our President, George W. Bush, sitting in the stands cheering on the American athletes. It might be easy to knock him for being there instead of "taking care of business" at the White House, but I am glad he is there. These amazing athletes are working their butts off and they deserve to see the leader of their country on the sidelines cheering them on. Good call on being at the Olympics Mr. President, even if just for a short time. My brother and I were talking about pride and country a few weeks back. He pointed out how it was so easy and respectful for any person in the world to be proud of their homeland. Yet, somehow in America we look down upon pride in the nation and it has become so blatantly popular to be "anti-American" even amongst those who would only choose to live here. I, regretfully so, even admit to choosing to rag on the USA a bit lately. Now I know that our allegiance is to God not nation, but at the same time I am proud to be from America. I love this country and am so honored to cheer for the many, many things that make this place great. These athletes at the Olympics are just another example of what makes this place great. Now keep pushing forward athletes, because like every other American, I sure as hell hate losing. :)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jason Lezak!

"The Americans? We're going to smash them. That's what we came here for," Alain Bernard. That was the prediction by the best French swimmer on the French men's 4x100 freestyle relay team. Gotta love "bulletin board" material. Now I know every athlete in the world tends to make statements like that and the USA is not exactly known for our humility, but oh how it made me happy to beat the French in this Olympic event. Congratulations Cullen Jones, Jason Lezak, Michael Phelps, and Garrett Weber-Gale. You guys did America proud! "A fingertip did the victory," said Amaury Leveaux, one of the French swimmers. "It is nothing." Well buddy, that 'nothing of a fingertip' is giving us a gold. The French swam well, the USA just swam better.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Goodbye Bernie Mac

Well the world lost a real funny guy this morning in Bernie Mac. Some of my favorite roles he played were Frank Catton (Oceans 11 series), Bobby Bolivia (Transformers), and himself in the Original Kings of Comedy. However, I think my favorite role with him was in Guess Who as Percy Jones. He was so funny and I love that movie. Its always sadder to me when someone who was really funny dies, because comedy has such a strong way of not only making a person smile but genuinely feel better. So here's to you Bernard Jeffery McCullough, your jokes and humor will be missed on the bigscreen.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Teach For America

So today was the first day of the Leadership Summit. Every year, the Willow Creek Association in conjunction with Willow Creek Community Church hosts the Summit which is essentially a leadership conference. It is primarily aimed at Christian leadership, in particular ministry leaderhip. However, its broad principles could easily apply to many different fields. Today one of the speakers was a lady named Wendy Kopp. Unfortunately, it was right after lunch in the middle of my sleepy phase. Despite this, I was highly fascinated by her vision and dream for the organization Teach For America which she created. It seems like such an incredible organization with an impact that is readily seen and felt. One of the things I have often dreamt about is being a teacher in a low-income area. Not that I have that much to offer, but I could at least offer to care for students and attempt my very best to teach them (history of course!). How cool is it that this lady is actually placing high capacity leaders into schools to do this very thing. Needless to say I was really interested in looking up details about the program and learning more about it. Not necessarily saying it is for me, but it is highly intriguing and a real cool thing. Its things like this that give me hope for America. As for the Summit Day One, not bad. I really enjoyed Efrem Smith's message at the end. It was not only funny but extremely relevant. How awesome would it be to see a mix of all races in all churches across the whole world?!! We'll see what day two brings at the Summit.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Generic cereals

Okay so this is going to make me seem like such a shallow, spoiled, rich, jerk of an American. Please forgive me. So here's the deal...I have always liked and wanted "name-brand" breakfast cereals. No offense to Cinnamon Toasters or Marshmallow Mateys but I want Cinnamon Toast Crunch and Lucky Charms. So I would always throw a temper tantrum when my parents would ever even suggest getting the cheap stuff. Flash forward to me getting married. My wife being the frugal one would always suggest getting the store brand cereals (Great Value Brand - yea WalMart!) and would even get them for herself. Not me! I demanded and got the name brand boxes. Flash forward to having kids. Well now my wife bought the store brand for her and the kids while I continued to cling to my name brand. So while the boys ate Toasted Oats (Cheerios) and Fruit Spins (Fruit Loops); I clung to my Cap 'n Crunch and Golden Grahams. All this until...I went to the store to get Tony's Frosted Flakes. I was really craving them and so went to buy a box. I just happened to stare down at the Great Value Frosted Flakes and noticed just how much cheaper they were than the name brand. Like over $2 cheaper. So I broke down and decided to try the "fake" frosted flakes. This morning was my first bowl and...I enjoyed it. In fact it did not taste any different than I would have expected from good old Tony the Tiger. So perhaps I can do this store brand stuff and save some money. If you haven't tried it, I highly recommend taking the plunge. Go for the cheaper stuff and see if you can even taste the difference.

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Deathly Hallows

I absolutely love the Harry Potter book series. I have read through it a few times, and am currently re-reading the last book [The Deathly Hallows]. Am I a super-nerd for my Harry Potter obsession - yes, and dang proud of it. The funniest part about Harry Potter is the absolute paranoia it brings to the Christian bubble. With so many things worth fighting for, Christians so often choose to fight the dumbest fights on earth. Why? Oh well, I enjoy the books and am totally loving reading this one again. I remember getting it last summer. I pre-ordered the book and then made my friend Ryan Maxwell stand in line outside Barnes and Noble so that I could get my copy after Midnight and start reading. He still has not forgiven me as I made him stand with all of the other Potter nerds, many dressed as wizards. :) Sorry Maxwell! If you haven't read the series, I give it a hearty two thumbs up. Pick up a copy, the series gets better the more books you read.

Sunday, August 3, 2008


So I am currently waging a war in my yard against my nemesis...the black widow spider. For whatever reason, these stupid little pests have hounded Danielle and I since we got married. In our old house we kept getting them to the point where we had to call in a pest control company to spray and kill them every 3 months. Well we moved from that house and in our new house I have found us dealing with the same pests. :( This makes me very upset. I hate those stupid things. They mostly bother me because I worry about either of the boys getting bit by them and getting really sick (hence the name of this post). So now I am stuck. Do I hire a company to come in and spray or do I choose to wage the war myself? I have killed 2 of them already but have seen one more. I tried to kill that one by spraying her with bleach but when she fell off her web she scampered across the rocks and I couldn't step on her. I am assuming there is probably more around my house, I just have not seen them yet. So we'll see what happens, but in the mean time if any of you have some sort of "proven method" in the war against black widows, please share.

Saturday, August 2, 2008


So Friday & Saturday mornings are always me with the boys as Danielle is at work. Every single week provides a new series of circumstances and stories which remind me how awesome it is to be a dad. So you might be wondering why this post is titled nipple. So here is the story....

Ever since Trenton started learning how to talk he would ask me questions starting with "whats this daddy?" and point something out. Well one day he pointed at my nipple (minor point to this story: the men in this house do not wear shirts whenever possible) and asked what it was. I told him it was a nipple and then I proceeded to give him a little minor purple nurple which caused him to laugh at out like a wild hyena. Well since that point every now and then I'll give him another purple nurple while we wrestle around. Well this morning the tide turned on me. He ran up to me randomly and yelled out nipple (first time he has ever said that word, bound to get me in trouble next time he is in Sunday school) and reached up and pinched and twisted my right nipple in the perfect purple nurple. I yelped in pain (he of course not understanding the concept of gentle) and he started crying he was laughing so hard. So now the entire morning he has been trying to chase me down and give me another one. I laugh now...but know that at some point he is going to get into trouble for this and the blame will slowly find its way back to me. Why is it that kids can only pick up and imitate the bad traits??? :)

Friday, August 1, 2008


So the airline industry seems to be getting worse and worse everyday. Now US Airways is going to charge you if you want something to drink. Yep, no more free water, pop, juice or coffee. If you are thirsty, you'll have to fork over $2 for a Coke. Plane tickets are already crazy expensive, and now in order to take a piece of luggage and get a drink I need to pay extra. My favorite part from the article, "If a desperately thirsty passenger does forget a few extra dollars, US Airways spokesman Morgan Durrant says flight attendants will likely 'err on the side of the customer' and give him or her water." What defines desperately thirsty? What defines will likely error on the side of the customor? Its crazy to see how much control the oil industry has on America. Exxon Mobil Corp. just posted its second quarter earnings at $11.68 billion! So while they are fattening their wallets, I have to pay $2 so I can drink a Coke on my flight across the country...not to mention paying $50 to fill up a Toyota Corolla. The worst part is that the US government is all tied to the oil industry so that even if Obama or McCain pledge to fight against high gas prices, they are both highly unlikely to even do so. Well just remember to bring your cash the next time you fly - unless you can convince the flight attendants you are desperately thirsty and they decide to break the rules for you.