Monday, August 27, 2007

Inside My Head

In case you might wonder what its like inside my head as I go back to school to get my MBA, here are some notes I made Monday night, during my first class.

6:28 Arrived in the classroom. Again, I'm only 33, but I feel like I'm surrounded by children.
6:29 Matter of fact, I think I'm the only bald guy in here…
6:30 Professor starts talking.
6:32 Long room, 71 students, soft-spoken Prof, no microphone … I’ll move to a closer seat.
6:37 So I moved closer to the front. The good news is, I won’t fall asleep in this chair. The bad news is, that’s because the chair is broken and seems to lean waaayyy forward, and I have to hold myself up not to fall out. However, I’ve already moved once since the instructor started talking, so I guess I’d better settle in for the evening.
6:39 Apparently its required that we take roll. I don’t remember doing that in my undergrad courses. 71 students… this could take awhile.
6:44 Yep, definitely taking awhile.
6:45 Still taking roll. Instructor: “Nah-shee-own?” Student: “Actually, its Nation. (Like its spelled.)” Oops. Better be nice to the Prof, though, dude.
6:50 Prof is from Pittsburgh, and his accent confirms that. His accent reminds me of my dad’s family up there. I think I like him.
7:05 Wow, old school. He just got out an overhead projector. I haven’t seen a working one of those in years.
7:06 I think he just used the word 'mimeograph'.
7:20 In a stunning display of anachronism, prof just pulled out a laser pointer to refer to the overhead projection. Must've been a gift from a friend.
7:28 Oops, I’m not the only bald guy afer all. Bald guy #2, sitting in the back of the room, just asked a rather philosophical question. The prof says he plans to cover that subject later, but he's still talking... Question is, will the prof follow the rabbit hole, or stick with his outline…?
7:30 Looks like he’s into rabbits.
7:35 Loves rabbits, actually.
7:37 And … we’re back. It's all good.
8;00 Breaktime. Headed to the coke machine. Want anything?
8:19 And so we continue.
8:20 Hmmm. The instructor just confused me for the other bald guy, pointing at me and commenting that he’s now going to more thoroughly answer the philosophical question “I” asked previously. I gently set him straight, with help from bald guy #2. I guess all bald guys look alike? :-)
8:21 Prof tells us he assisted in collection of forensic information at the nuke plant following the 3-Mile-Island disaster. Fascinating. He doesn’t seem to glow in the dark or anything, though.
8:26 At this point, prof pulls up a Powerpoint presentation that based on the textbook. He says he's never used ppt before. I wouldn't have guessed...
9:15 Next time will apparently be less lecture, more classroom discussion. Should be interesting.


Monday, August 20, 2007

Dazed and Confused

So I am at UNT in Denton, for an MBA program orientation. I begin classes next week.

I don't think I've been on UNT's campus since I graduated from UNT with my BBA in 1998. I must say it is STRANGE to be here. A few random thoughts as I kill time waiting for orientation to start:
  • The campus is similar, but new buildings have sprouted up here and there, where I'm not expecting them to be. I should probably walk around campus at some point and get the new lay of the land.
  • I had to laugh when I walked by a computer lab before coming into the room where the orientation will be held. I can remember sitting in that lab or another lab on campus, working on projects with small groups, and perhaps more importantly, playing text-based games with Casey (and sometimes others). A particular memory comes to mind, involving Casey and me, and maniacal laughter, and synchronized keystrokes as we chased another player in the game ... and then the realization that the whole lab has stopped to look over at us, eyebrows reaching new altitudes. Back to the present, though, its weird to see a bunch of flat-screen displays, and they are inset into the tops of the desks; I guess so you can see over them in case an instructor is instructing?
  • On a related note, now that I can get to the internet from my laptop over a wireless connection, I wonder if I can still get to any of the MUD's...
  • Everyone looks like a teenager around here. I joke to Celeste that I'm getting old, but around here I'm pretty sure its true. Especially since a girl approached me in the hallway, a freshman considering the deer-in-the-headlights look she had, and asked if I could help her figure out how to get to a particular classroom; apparently my age and appearance have attained 'professor' status. I was chagrined at first, but the more I think about it, it really doesn't bother me.

One last thing. I swear its hotter on campus than in Keller or in west Fort Worth. And I think the bookstore forgot to turn on their A/C altogether -- everyone was sweating (not just me for once). Perhaps I'll start giving to UNT's alumni association, if they'll assure me that the money will go to improving A/C on campus.

That's probably enough for now. Party on Wayne.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


Eight years ago today I married Michelle Celeste Robertson, the love of my life.

We met at a singles' retreat in October of 1998. I fell for her first -- she laughed at all my jokes! We were married the following August.

We tied the knot at Southlake Church. It was a Sunday afternoon. At the time Southlake Church had Saturday services and therefore could not squeeze in Saturday weddings; and besides, August 15 was and is Celeste's parents anniversary, so we decided Sunday was better for us.

I'm happy to say it was one of the shortest wedding ceremonies I've ever been to in a church. We had music picked out for the various family who would walk in, and for each of us, of course, and the music lasted much longer than the ceremony.

Celeste walked in to 'Don't Wanna Close My Eyes' by Aerosmith. Yes, you read that right; our first kiss was during the closing credits of the movie Armageddon. Do I know how to sweep a girl off her feet, or what?

She was stunning coming down the aisle. Made me lightheaded.

Celeste's Dad, a church elder in Kansas, married us. I think I was expecting a little sermonette or something. But Celeste's dad is a (now retired) judge, and the ceremony was quick and painless.

The funniest part to me was when Celeste's Dad asked, very formally, if there was any reason we shouldn't be married. I think I've only ever heard that question asked in ceremonies on TV shows -- followed by someone standing up to declare why the couple shouldn't be married. Celeste and I were facing the crowd, and in the wedding video Celeste and I both seem to consider this question carefully before agreeing that there wasn't a reason we shouldn't be married. Unplanned. Funny though.

Now, I had given Celeste the impression, without ever really saying it, that I was going to have a band show up at the wedding reception, and that I'd sing to her. But I treated it like a poorly kept secret, so on her wedding day she sent her maid of honor to sneak back to the classroom where the reception would be and see if a band was set up. But Kira returned moments later to tell Celeste that there wasn't a band. And that, my friends, is because -- in a totally unexpected move -- I had arranged to sing in a barbershop quartet instead. Colin Yarborough, Ken Irvin, and Scott Weiss were my baritone, tenor and bass. She never even saw it coming.

Hopefully I didn't disappoint her, not having a band. Just in case, though, Tom Wood videod our wedding, and he was kind enough to append a bonus feature at the end of the video -- its me singing the Proclaimers '500 Miles' to Celeste at a karaoke place, with my brother Justin singing the harmony vocals. (Yes, I'll let you borrow the video, so long as someone else doesn't have it checked out.)

For our honeymoon, we spent a week at a resort south of Cancun, Mexico. It was hot, but gorgeous -- from parasailing to exploring the ruins of Tulum to just lounging on the beach reading a book. And we spent the following week settling into our new apartment together -- no responsibilities, just hanging pictures, arranging furniture ... and going to the movies or Barnes & Noble at the drop of a hat. Among other things.

In the 8 years since then, God has blessed us with 2 beautiful children, many new friends, and a fantastic life together. Celeste is even more beautiful now than she was then.

But, between you and me ... I think my favorite thing is still that she laughs at my jokes.

Love you Celeste!

Monday, August 06, 2007

reach out and touch Someone

I'm in one of those dry times, when my relationship with God feels more like work than joy. Not that there aren't joyful times -- even now I feel very close to God when I'm singing my head off, and even when I'm just playing the bass and not singing; and anytime I feel close to God, there is tangible peace and joy in that.

But most of the time ... lately I feel like I'm kind of on my own. I know this isn't Truth. Its just how it feels to be in a dry time, I think.

But I think God is actively reaching out to me (as usual!). I've been inundated with thoughts, scriptures, blogs, comments, etc -- all about prayer. One that struck a disonant chord with me was Jeremiah 33:2-3, which showed up as a verse of the day over the weekend in my Google Reader:

“This is what the LORD says, he who made the earth, the LORD who formed it and established it—the LORD is his name: 'Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.”

This is an uncomfortable verse for me, because this has not really been my experience. At one point in my life, I really thought I was hearing from God as I read scripture and prayed. But if the messages I thought I heard were directing my actions or prophesying things to come, the latter have not occurred, and the former, on close inspection, are suspiciously close to what I might have chosen to do anyway. In other words, I'm not sure I was really hearing God at all -- very likely I was just hearing what I wanted to hear.

I choose not to let this diminish my faith. The God of the universe doesn't make mistakes, but I sure do. So I will chalk my confusion up to a misunderstanding on my part. I'll keep trying to live in the way Jesus clearly called his followers to live.

But that still leaves me in a position to seriously question anything I think I hear from God ... to the point that I wonder if I'm turning into Thomas. You know, the one who said he wouldn't believe Christ had been resurrected unless he could personally touch the nail-holes in Jesus' hands and feet?

Winding back around, though, it sounds like God is suggesting that I pray. That certainly is consistent with what he would ask of any of his kids. And it isn't asking very much.

So I'll pray. And I'll even listen. But if I hear a voice ... I'm not sure what I'll be able to do with that.